Rediscovering Eliot Coleman

Ok, my earlier post has led to some time wasting (not really) on the web. Barbara wrote this article back in September 2000.

Eliot has a saying: “If you have $30,000, you’ll come up with a $30,000 solution. If you have only 30 cents, you’ll come up with a 30-cent solution. That’s nature’s way. If what you’re doing in the garden is expensive or complicated, it’s probably wrong.” The simplest garden wisdom:
Make compost, as much as you can. No fertilizer is better.

  • Keep tools basic. Eliot made many of our garden tools. Some of his designs, such as the “collinear hoe” and the “wire weeder,” are sold in the catalog from Johnny’s Selected Seeds in Albion, Maine.
  • Keep rows of newly sown seeds moist; especially carrots, which germinate slowly. Sprinkle them daily until they germinate.
  • Alternate vegetables with green manures, such as red clover and buckwheat.
  • Don’t worry about pests. “Relax,” says Eliot. “Bugs are indicators, not enemies. They tell us that something isn’t quite right with our soil or growing conditions.” If you keep the soil aerated and fertile (that means compost again, of course), your plants will be less stressed and they’ll attract fewer pests.
  • Pay attention to your garden and learn from what it has to teach you. Look and see how Mother Nature does things, and take your cue from her.
  • Share what you learn. “Farmers and gardeners shouldn’t hoard secrets. An idea expands when different growers try it out. Information is like compost; it does no good unless you spread it around.”

Naturally, for Eliot Coleman, it all comes back to compost.

Link to americanprofile.pdf

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