Q: What are your growing practices?
Lindholm: I employ a two-year rotation of cover crops and vegetables. So basically my acre is split in half, and on any given year half of that is in cover crops and the other half is in vegetable production.
During the cover-crop year, I grow a whole series of what we call green manures — plants that fix nitrogen, help defeat weeds and have all kinds of other benefits. Then they get plowed into the soil, and add to the soil life and organic matter.
The actual vegetable production is ridge tillage, which is basically raised beds in just a single row, all these tiny little raised-bed rows. I have a tractor and a piece of equipment that forms those for me. I pretty much do it all myself, though my wife helps some and our sons help out a little bit, too. The crop rotation helps with pest control. I rotate the families of vegetables, which can break some pest cycles. I choose not to grow several crops — for example, potatoes, which is a huge pest crop and demands lots of resources for an organic grower. I grow crops that are easier to weed and control.
I use Remay [fabric] row covers on the salad greens. That’s basically a physical barrier that keeps pests out. I don’t rely on any sprays whatsoever. In the past, I’ve used rotenone or pyrethrins or Bt [Bacillus thuringiensis] on certain pests. But I’ve gotten away from any kind of spray whatsoever for insects or weeds.