Proactive vs: Reactive
by Robert Bradford
(SW MO USA)
It amazes me that it takes so long after we reach maturity for us to combine the pieces of knowledge of youth with meditation to produce the wisdom that could have made the preceding years so much easier and more productive.
I remember my father telling me when I was six, "There are three kinds of people in this world. The first can learn by the mistakes of other. The second have to learn by their own. Only fools can not learn even then."
We can garden in group one if we read about methods that have worked for others and copy them. Part of this falls into group two because we are not always smart enough to pick or fully understand the right mentors.
We are in group three if our garden fails and ever after we do the same things. That is a good definition of insanity.
We should research and choose the portions of it that show the most promise of producing the desired results. After the completion of the project we must join group two long enough to improve our methods. I always aim for group one but work with group two to avoid the third.
Proactive: the first year I was serious about growing tomatoes I used artificial soil because I wanted to avoid soil borne disease. Good crop, no blight.
Proactive: I knew we wanted chickens that would provide eggs, meat and were good mothers but had no idea which breed. Our Vet recommended Salmon Faverolles. Thank you Meg. There was no reason for us to try to reinvent the wheel when she has been there and done that.
Reactive: we lost a hen to a hawk. I researched the internet and found a suggestion that overhead wires would deter airborne predators. It worked.
Proactive: whenever I enlarged the hen pen the overhead wires were included.
Reactive: we lost a chick to a raccoon. I trapped seven coons and used them to feed the orchard and added 2X4 wire to the 6X8' openings in the front of the coop.
Proactive: we have White tail deer and a garden. Deer can jump an eight foot fence but will not jump a four four fence into a small enclosed area. Our garden is 16' X 64' with a four foot fence and raised beds lengthwise which show deer a hazardous landing area that resembles a trap.
Proactive: knowing that chickens eat insects and their manure is good fertilizer we put the chicken coop and garden in the orchard. Chickens have the run of the 4X16 compost pile daily until the adjacent 4X16 garden is harvested. Then the gates at each end are swung the other way and we plant in the processed compost and the chickens start to work their magic in the new compost pile.
Reactive, best tomato crop ever. Cantaloupe like it too. Therefore we add two 4X16s each year, one in the spring and another in the fall.
Proactive, we just made a new 4X8X2' deep bed at the east end of the orchard. We over filled it with a combination of grass clippings and leaves over a cardboard and newsprint base. It will be ready to plant next spring or if we add some topsoil it will be ready to plant a fall crop now.
Reactive, The old garden behind the house suffers insect damage each year. We are therefore gradually moving our gardening to the orchard which is patrolled by chickens.
Proactive, I like the combination of cattle panels, T posts, 3/16" cable clamps, 1 1/8" split ring key rings and 4' chain-link tension bars for farm fencing. They are expensive but they are like Lincoln logs, Tinker toys, Lego blocks and Erector sets, they can be reassembled in an infinite number of configurations. One critical tool is a T-post lifter which makes moving posts very easy and possible even for my wife.
You can work hard or you can work smart. When I was six my father told me...
MEG: GREAT WISDOM HERE ROBERT. GOTTA SAY THOUGH MY FAVEROLLES RECOMMENDATION CAME FROM RESEARCH (YOUR METHOD 1), NOT EXPERIENCE (YOUR METHOD 2). THEIR PERFORMANCE DISAPPOINTED! AM NOW EXPERIMENTING WITH AUSTRALORP CHICKENS AND SAXONY DUCKS (WONDERFUL LAYERS SO FAR).