How do you raise all your vegetables?
Both old and new technologies are utilized to bring forth an abundant yield. These technologies are discussed under their particular headings.
The farm utilizes plastic as much as possible to produce its vegetables. Plastic encourages the soil to warm more rapidly in the spring, or in the case of white, the coolness of the soil is maintained longer to aid crops like lettuce to be grown farther into the summer without bitterness developing. It thus encourages better ripening. The yields are generally increased. Vegetables are much cleaner when raised on plastic. Water is applied directly to the roots of the plants. This means there is less of a need for fungicide usage. Weeds are kept from growing as they would without plastic. Therefore, the amount of herbicides is greatly diminished. There is even some deterrent to certain insects with plastic. The amount of fertilizer is reduced because it is only applied directly to the spot it is needed. Even though plastic is expensive it helps to make a better quality crop in every way.
Cultivation is one of the oldest cultural practices used by farmers since the beginning of time. The one divergence today is that agronomic and horticultural engineers are continuing to work to produce better cultivation equipment that can be pulled through the fields with tractors easily removing weeds that stunt growth, in a cost effective manner. Of course, the usage of a cultivator reduces the need for herbicides.
Trickle irrigation is probably the best conservator of water on the planet. When trickle irrigation is used on a dry year there is almost no need for any fungicide what-so-ever. It also ensures a crop even when there is no rain.
High tunnels, perhaps better know as green houses, work well to bring summer more quickly. Without the use of tunnels, it would be very difficult to have tomatoes, cucumbers, or peppers in early July. They also produce an environment that is very controlled. Most of the insects and diseases that have to be dealt with in regular fields are almost nonexistent in tunnels. The generally warmer environment also creates conditions for consistently larger crops that tend to be fuller flavored. In many cases that also means more nutritious.
In bygone years, farmers would receive letters from the County Agent telling them when and what to spray. Then they would go out and spry whether or not it was needed. It does not take a rocket scientist to understand that this is, at the very least wasteful, and sometimes harmful.
Today it is much different. It is easy to tell by looking at the plants to see if there are, in fact, insects or fungal disease starting. Only then is anything chemically needed to be done. Scouting reduces the need for pesticides greatly during the course of a normal year.
During the season every effort is made to preserve the friends of crop production. Every effort is made culturally to encourage beneficial fauna, reducing the need for spraying.