My first memories (Arthur) of growing things were gathering seeds from my Grandmother's flower beds and pulling weeds in Granddad's carrot patch. Granddad had a huge 1/2 acre garden and grew most of the vegetables he ate. I still have never eaten a better tomato than the ones he grew. He raised everything he grew organically and that's how I did growing up. Never went the chemical route.
Years later, in 1977 when I started growing dates, I started out organically. Never did any different. Then along came the big money farmers and government "helping" us and the requirements to certify as organic. It would cost over $4,000 a year to certify our little 4.7 acre farm. So I quit being "organic" because you have to pay a big fee to say you are organic. We didn't change a thing about how we grow. But now we tell folks "we are clean, natural, and wholesome, not certified organic."
We grow with good quality well water applied with drip irrigation so we conserve water. We have solar electric panels that help us generate electricity that helps run our well pump so we minimize the impact of using electricity. Nothing is added to the well water. That's all. Just pure well water.
We fertilize with composting mulch piles. Most palms have their own mulch pile right beside them. We put old palm fronds and left over fruit stalks in the piles as well as any weeds that may get started. We add horse manure about every 3 years to the pile to keep the nitrogen content up. Horse manure also helps with our sandy soil. That's all. Nothing else added.
We weed with good old fashion hoes and pulling by hand. That's all. No chemicals, no machinery.
We control insects by keeping the date garden clean. We bury any fallen fruit each year after harvest. We let ants live because they eat any insects that are on the ground that they can get to. We let wasps live, even if we get a sting once in a while, because they catch and eat worms. We have healthy numbers of spiders, lace wings, lady bugs, praying mantises, that just make their home here and help keep all the harmful creatures in check. Bats, Night Hawks, and Kestrels help keep flying insects in check. That's all. No chemicals or man made stuff.
So that's how we grow and always have since 1977.
PO Box 1384 Indio, CA 92202 US
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