The Profitable Mini-Farm – Building Deep, Productive Farm Soils (E13)

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Episode Summary

The Profitable Mini-Farm is a new series hosted by Diego Footer and Jodi Roebuck to take a deep dive into the technicalities of farming—from designing your farm’s layout to crop planning to treating your soil.

In this episode of The Profitable Mini Farm, Jodi and Diego talk all about building great quality soil on the farm. Jodi also discusses their process of breaking in new beds, as well as how they let their soil and their markets dictate what crops they’ll plant in their beds.

Today’s Guest: Jodi Roebuck

Jodi Roebuck is the main farmer behind Roebuck Farm and is a John Jeavons alumnus. He has been teaching sustainable bio-intensive growing techniques all over the world for over 20 years with the aim of creating sustainable food systems while bridging the gap between farmers and consumers.

            Roebuck FarmWebsite | Instagram | Facebook

            Paperpot Co.’s Kwik Hoops Low Tunnels

            InsectaNet Insect Protection Netting by Paperpot Co.

In this episode of Farm Small, Farm Smart

  • Diego introduces the episode on building soils (01:07)
  • Soil-building takeaways from John Jeavons (02:03)
  • Jodi Roebuck’s strategy to break into the soil and form market garden beds (03:43)
    • Starting from 10cm (4-inch) deep soils to workable soils (06:10)
  • Top dressing instead of amending and integrating into the soil (07:24)
  • Applying minimal compost and vermicast over new beds (09:12)
  • The first crops to plant into new beds (11:59)
    • Forking beds using the Roebuck Fork (13:10)
    • Deciding which crops to grow based on soil compaction and market streams (13:37)
  • Better crops in loose soils (15:30)
    • The benefits of composting beds before planting carrots (17:02)
  • Deciding when to fork beds and when not to (18:34)
  • Good soil means good soil to root contact (22:52)
  • In-field microgreens as both a cash crop and a cover crop (25:56)
    • Terminating pea shoot organic matter with tarp (27:55)
    • Potential rodent issue with in-field microgreens (29:53)
  • Free up more time from the farm to do things you want to do with Paperpot Co. (31:06)
  • Measure-amend-measure: trial inputs and amendments first (32:26)
    • Checking plant photosynthesis using a refractometer (35:16)
  • The most basic practices that make the most difference in soil health (37:23)
    • The benefits of keeping the soil covered at all times (38:38)
  • Compost and compost inputs at Roebuck Farm (39:35)
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