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MOF&G Cover Winter 2009-2010
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  You are here:  PublicationsMaine Organic Farmer & GardenerWinter 2009-2010Tips - Winter 2009-2010   
 Tips - Winter 2009-2010 Minimize


Black Elderberry Extract Fights Flu
Catnip vs. Stable Flies
CMP’s Tree Pruning Program
Leafhopper-resistant Potato Varieties
Mustard Seed Meal vs. Weeds
Worm Compost Boosts Plant Growth, Health


Black Elderberry Extract Fights Flu


Tamiflu, being stockpiled in case of a large swine flu outbreak, is expensive, can have harmful side effects (to the point that it has been banned in Japan), and is not completely effective against the flu. Black elderberry extract (from Sambucus nigra), on the other hand, fights many kinds of flu, has been used safely for a long time, and was effective in trials during flu outbreaks in Israel and Norway. In Natural News, Paul Fassa explains how black elderberry promotes health and describes other supplements that can help fight flu symptoms. To make black elderberry extract, put 1/4 pound of dried black elderberries (available from food co-ops) in a quart jar; add vodka to fill the jar; cover the jar and store it in a dark place, shaking it every few days. The extract is ready after a month. Fassa recommends taking 1 teaspoon four to five times a day when you have the flu, or 1 teaspoon per day at other times. (“Elderberry Trumps Tamiflu for Flu Remedy,” by Paul Fassa, Natural News, May 30, 2009; www.naturalnews.com)


Catnip vs. Stable Flies

Stable flies create stress and discomfort for the animals whose blood forms their diet. Traditional insecticides have had limited success against this pest. Scientists have identified two nepetalactone compounds found in catnip that discourage even starved stable flies from biting cattle and feeding on their blood. In laboratory assays, these compounds have a success rate of more than 98 percent. The same compounds have a 95 percent success rate in discouraging female stable flies from laying eggs – another important element of stable fly control. (“Developing Attractants, Repellants for a Cattle Pest,” by Laura McGinnis, USDA Agricultural Research Service, July 31, 2009; www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr)


CMP’s Tree Pruning Program

If you would like Central Maine Power to consult with you before it has trees pruned near your home or business, complete and electronically submit the form at www.cmpco.com/UsageAndSafety/TreeCare/TreeCareForm.html or send your name, address, city/town, phone number (home and work) and account number, separate from your bill payment, to CMP, Vegetation Management Dept., 83 Edison Dr., Augusta, ME 04336. If trees cause outages or pose an immediate hazard to public safety or service reliability, CMP must perform emergency tree work and will not be able to consult with landowners first. If you have already sent in a form, CMP has it on file and you don’t need to send another one.


Leafhopper-resistant Potato Varieties

In an article about potato leafhoppers in Farming (July 2009; www.farmingmagazine.com), University of Vermont vegetable and berry specialist Vern Grubinger says (based on a University of Massachusetts publication) that Yukon Gold potatoes have intermediate tolerance to this pest, while Red Norland and other red potatoes are very susceptible.


Mustard Seed Meal vs. Weeds

Studies at the Vegetable and Forage Crops Production Research Unit in Prosser, Wash., have shown that 1 to 2 tons of crushed mustard seed meal applied per acre without herbicides significantly reduced early weeds in potato fields. Mustard seed meal is a byproduct of vegetable oil extraction. (“ARS Research Promotes Sustainable Potato Production,” by Ann Perry, USDA Agricultural Research Service News Service, July 13, 2009; www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr)

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Worm Compost Boosts Plant Growth, Health

Vermicompost – compost produced by earthworms – stimulates microbial activity, and these microbes produce plant growth hormones, growth regulators and available nutrients. Scientists testing teas made by steeping worm compost in water found that they increased tomato and cucumber growth by up to 50 percent. The teas also reduced damage from plant diseases, nematodes, aphids and mites. (“Earthworm Tea Good for Plants,” Ohio Ag Connection, Aug. 11, 2009; www.ohioagconnection.com/story-state.php?Id=706&yr=2009)



    

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