As my operation has grown in complexity, so have the practices that I use.  I do my best to avoid using agricultural poisons, but there are areas where I use a little.  I do not use herbicides or pesticides for outdoor production and never have.

Breeding

My breeding conditions are “better than organic.”  Other than occasional amendments with organic matter produced on site, I do not amend the ground used for breeding work at all.  This is intentional.  I have poor soils and I want to select varieties that can perform reasonably well in native ground.  As a consequence, my varieties should perform well under organic conditions. 

Production

No pesticides or herbicides are used on our sale crops.  I do occasionally use inorganic fertilizers to bring the soil up to optimum levels.  It proved impossible to reliably get the right balance with locally available organic fertilizers.  I need consistent nutrient levels in this area to make it easy for me to detect disease.  As a seed producer, I think it is more important to produce a disease free crop than an organic one.

Greenhouse/Screenhouse

I routinely use inorganic fertilizers in the greenhouse.  They are just easier to manage and more available locally.  This is also the one area of the operation where I will use pesticide, if necessary.  It usually isn’t.  This is where I produce the foundation stock for our disease free tubers and I need to make sure that insects that can transmit viruses don’t get the upper hand.  Usually, manual and organic practices are sufficient, but sometimes I just need to make sure that the aphids are all dead.  The amount of pesticide that I use in a year is generally less than a single consumer size spray bottle.  We do not sell anything out of the greenhouse, so nothing that we sell has come in contact with any pesticides.

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