John S

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Full Name
John Saario
Member for
1 month
Volunteer Background
I have a graduate degree in Biochemistry, worked in computer industry 15 years, grown 8 acres of vanilla, managed a 300 head goat dairy, ran a business producing cured meats for supermarkets, and now an Agricultural Manager in Eastern Washington. I lived in North Borneo 20 years where I collected orchids and varieties of berries and solanum suitable for the tropical climate. I currently reside on 20 acres in Eastern Washington state, dry cold zone 6b at 1200ft. Our soil ranges from loam to sandy-gravel and the well only produces 1gal/minute so interested in dry cultivation techniques.
Favorite Crops & Least Favorite Crops
Tomatoes, eggplant, chili, physalis ... various solanum. Orchids including vanilla. Corn, long beans, C. Moschata, bitter gourd, loofah, basil any types, and even taro when overseas. Blackberry, raspberry, currants, grapes, and assorted fruit trees. Winter and summer squashes, currently trying 2 types of C. moschata and 1 C. pepo to store and eat. All types Allium, onion, leeks, shallots, garlic, chives do well here without much care. The natural soil is fairly poor and wild lupin, sagebrush, and various grasses; I've broadcast several types of seed such as crested wheatgrass and Sainfoin. Now trying out daylilies and cold hardy nopales.
Growing Experience
Growing food
Starting seeds
Growing perennials
Hand pollination
Plant breeding
Time Commitment
5-10 hrs
Growing Location
Space Available
Really big field (5+ acres)
Soil Details
Property is near the edge of plateau and very gently sloped. Gentle slopes with 2 feet of loam with 1-12" rocks mostly below the surface in most areas; deeper more rocks, gravel, and sand. Some lower areas and gentle southern slopes not near crest have loam to 6 feet or more. Higher areas have more rocks, and one south facing slope has some rocks which turns to gravel and grey sand 3 feet down with very good drainage. Higher areas subject to some wind so I've planted fruit trees in a lower area with deep loam and no apparent water flow, possible a little dampness from snow melt in early spring.
Neighbors' Crops (within 1/4 mile)
Empty fields, horses, cows, sagebrush.
Neighbors' crops (within 1 mile)
Apples, pears, cherries, alfalfa, potatoes.
Possible GMOs in the neighborhood...
No gmo's. Closest may grow potatoes or onions this year but I'm betting winter wheat.
Other relevant information
I have very short water supply and interested in edible plants, eg. Nopales and daylilies. We have a few deer that ate grape leaves, and had a packrat that damaged my nopales, he's been killed!
I am an Agricultural Manager at a Cannabis farm in the Okanogan Valley.