Tag: Fertilizer

Providing Nitrogen to Organic Crops

by Eric Sideman, PhDMOFGA’s Organic Crop Specialist Emeritus Nitrogen is usually the nutrient that is in limiting supply, i.e., the limiting factor to crop growth on organic farms. Plants deficient in nitrogen are stunted, yellowish (especially the lower leaves), and have restricted root growth. Plants turn yellow because nitrogen is an integral part of chlorophyll,

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Natural Sources of Plant Nutrients

by Eric Sideman, PhDMOFGA’s Organic Crop Specialist Emeritus There are two basic approaches to fertilization. The first is to provide required nutrients to each crop in a soluble form that plants can use immediately, i.e., feed the plant. The advantage to this approach is the opportunity to quite accurately meet a crop’s need. The disadvantage

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Using Green Manures

by Eric Sideman, PhDMOFGA’s Organic Crop Specialist Emeritus Introduction There is no such thing as the “best green manure”. A grower has to decide what is the most important benefit to their farm system of growing green manures and what is the window of opportunity that they have to take cropland out of production. This

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Too Many Wood Chips

A pile of year-old chips partially transformed by white mold. These heavily-bearing blackberry plants have never been treated with anything but chip mulch. By Will Bonsall I’ve spoken and written extensively about using forest residues, especially shredded brushwood, or “ramial chips,” to build and maintain soil tilth. I’ve advocated incorporating them into gardens as short-term

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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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Seedling Production

A concrete center aisle in a greenhouse is easy to clean but less expensive than an entire floor made of concrete. Photo by Stephanie Burnett Unit heaters are less expensive than boilers but can require more maintenance. Photo by Stephanie Burnett The 2018 Spring Growth Conference at MOFGA addressed seedling production – setting up production

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Strawberries Revisited

Strawberry runners transplanted in August. Roberta Bailey photo A thick patch of strawberry plants at the end of the second summer, ready to be tilled under as weeds are encroaching. Roberta Bailey photo By Roberta Bailey We all want to grow strawberries. Who can resist the allure of a basket brimming with fat, red, juicy

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