Category: Soil

Tillage Effects on Soil Health Parameters

One treatment in our study of the effects of tillage on soil health used a rototiller for cultivation. Another treatment used a broadfork. By Will Brinton Soil tillage is an increasingly important topic of discussion among agriculturists and poses new challenges for organic practices. At a soil health event in Aroostook County in 2014, Ray Archuleta,  conservation

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Building the Mycorrhizal Connection

Toki Oshima illustration By C.J. Walke As spring rolls into summer, we should see young, month-old fruitlets on our trees, slowly swelling with growth in the sunlight of our longest days of the year. Nutrition for that growth is centered in the soil, where we look to build a biologically active ecosystem for soil microbes

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Soil Health Soil Testing and Soil Amending

Rebirth of a Movement By Will Brinton, Ph.D. A renewed national interest in soil health and soil biology is creating an alternative to the long-held chemistry-based mineral theory of soil fertility still dominant today. For about 175 years, soil has been viewed largely as a physical support medium for plants to which mineral nutrients must

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Minerals Whence and Whither

By Will Bonsall Minerals are the part of “organic” that isn’t organic. That is, all of the elemental components of organic matter – carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen – are in the air we breathe, always in adequate supply; all we have to do is create a soil community that sequesters those elements in stable-but-ever-changing

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Spring Growth

David Rocque. English photo MOFGA’s 2016 Spring Growth Conference addressed soils, with experts from the state of Maine, from two state universities and from three MOFGA-certified organic farms. David Rocque, Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry soil scientist, defined “soils,” talked about soil-forming factors – especially parent materials – and about identifying soil types

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Editorial Jean English

Please Send Us Your Garden Tips! Roberta Bailey is compiling the most interesting and useful garden tips that MOF&G readers send to her for publication in our fall issue. Do you have a unique way to grow pole beans? How do you thwart weeds organically? Please share your tips by emailing Roberta at [email protected] Thanks!

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Agricultural Soil

Toki Oshima drawing. By Céline Caron The 68th UN General Assembly declared 2015 the International Year of Soils, and one of the themes for the 2014 permaculture convergence held in July in Frelishburg, Quebec, was “Solutions are in nature.” A good part of the permaculture conference was devoted to soils. Here are the main points

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Lead

By Eric Sideman, Ph.D. Lead is an element that is lumped with a group called heavy metals because of their similar chemical characteristics. Some of these metals are necessary nutrients in small amounts for plants and/or animals, but as a general rule, each becomes toxic at some concentration. Copper and zinc are essential in very

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Nitrogen Fertilizer

By Eric Sideman, PH.D. Ever since humans began to cultivate food, nitrogen has been the most common limit to crop yields. Modern agriculture has answered this limit with synthetic production of nitrogen fertilizers, which has greatly increased global food production and has supported an astonishing growth in the world’s population. However, the environmental problems are

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Soil Sampling

By Eric Sideman, Ph.D. Organic farming is centered on taking care of the soil. You do not need soil to produce crops, as hydroponic farms show. But organic farmers hold tightly to the belief that for sustainable crop production, one needs and expects a lot from one’s soil. Consequently, organic farmers do a lot to

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