Appropriate tools & technology

Appropriate tools & technology: The plant nursery on our ten acre forest garden farm is active, robust, and as low tech as they come. Early in the season I’ll start propagating in a small unheated hoop house, but for the bulk of the year all the action happens in sprawling, shady area under an old maple tree with a few wooden pallets and raised bed boxes.

Early on in the farm planning process it became clear to us that the majority of our intended farm goods; wild edibles, fruit, and herbals, did not necessitate an early jump on the season, and thus a heated greenhouse would be an unnecessary energy and monetary expense. We opted instead for a seasonally guided approach to propagation with repeated seeding, cutting, root division, and transplanting happening throughout the year in the open air. Throughout the course of the year, thousands of new plants are produced this way. We took inspiration from many small to mid scale growers using naturalized techniques including our friends at Wild Ridge Plants & Forest Agriculture Enterprises. It’s a style of propagation that works within our context, but isn’t appropriate for everyone’s scenario.

Understanding the site specific goals and context for each individual landscape and its human stewards is the gateway toward implementing appropriate tools and technology. Input and output is relational. There are no one-size-fits-all prescriptions here, but there is rather, an invitation to look at how our processes align with our holistic mission.

How have you considered and implemented appropriate technology in your home, garden, farm, or landscape? Inquiring minds want to know...

Photo: nursery at fields without fences, late July 2019