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I received my degree in ornamental horticulture in 1962, went into teaching [agriculture, health and science] and retired in 1991. My situation is unusual in that I’ve peen parenting continously since 1964, have 8 children [with 3 mothers, the youngest now 10, a single daddy since 1994. In 1992 we moved with 5 children to my remote 80 acre [1/2 interest now for sale] place in the Sierra Nevada foothills to live off the land. With 7 of us living in a 900 sq ft cabin, 2 bouncy round trips a day to the school bus stop, no electricity, outhouse sanitary facilities, etc., I started getting some new ideas about what the good life might consist of.

We now live on a 2 acre place, half of it in beds, much closer to Fresno, and sell flowers and plants at farmers markets. Involved in the business are my adult son, nearing 40, his significant and myself. My two children now at home help a bit. Our principal year around market is the Vineyard Farmers Market in Fresno where I serve on the Board of Directors. 2003 marks our 8th season growing for farmers markets.

I practice what could be called radical agriculture. There’s no rule or established practice safe from challenge as far as I’m concerned. I particularly question "organic" propositions and assumptions and use manufactured fertilizers and RoundUp without apology. Yet huge quantities of organic matter go on my acre of beds, perhaps 50 to 80 tons a year, delivered by two full-time maintenance gardeners who live nearby. They unload it in front of the house, I fork it into a small dump trailer and deliver it to the garden with a lawn tractor. The spaces between the beds are wide enough to accomodate delivery without wheelbarrowing. These spaces also grow green manure and cover crops in the bed middles also. Soil is built here and this material, very much like potting soil, is shovelled up on the beds from time to time--a kind of Nile River Valley in reverse.

My mentors in agriculture are Ruth Stout and Masanobu Fukuoka but in detail what I do is at considerable variance with the practices they used. Mrs. Stout has been known as the "Mother of Mulch" and Mr. Fukuoka the "Father of Natural Farming". What we all share is the goals of "no work", "no tillage" and "know nothing" gardening and farming. Mr. Fukuoka’s book, "The Natural Way of Farming" is mostly a philosophy book

My intellectual interests include General Systems Theory and its applications to agriculture, business and society.

I live in: United States

My zone is: Z9, Central.CA

First registered on December 26, 2001 .