Tag: Soil

Building Health in the Orchard

By C.J. Walke Reactive Remedies My favorite role in my work with MOFGA is helping growers and gardeners troubleshoot insect pest and disease issues in their fruit trees while developing strategies to keep those pests in check to allow fruit to reach harvest. Most often I am approached or contacted once a pest population has

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The reproductive conidia of Venturia inaequalis erupting through the cuticle of a crabapple leaf. From the Wikipedia article “Apple Scab,” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_scab. By C. J. Walke As organic farmers and gardeners, we understand the importance of a biologically active soil, where beneficial microbes thrive in the rich organic matter and humus layer, converting mineral nutrients into

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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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Recreational Tillage

By Eric Sideman, Ph.D. The rototiller has gotten a bad rap in recent decades. Perhaps it deserves it, perhaps not; in any case it is important to avoid its misuse in order to preserve soil. Temptation to use this power tool is worst in the early spring, when cabin fever or perhaps simply being anxious

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Fall Cleanup or Not

Sheep feed on a summer cover crop of Japanese millet, with another garden in the background. Photo by Eric Sideman. By Eric Sideman, Ph.D. Gardeners do not often think of themselves as managers, but they are. At this time of year, which I refer to as Fair time, gardeners have to make a very important

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This low garden bed was made with leaves, twigs, tree branches and compost – similar to a hugelkultur bed but lower, and without very large logs. Bobbie Goodell photo. Produce from the garden bed. Bobbie Goodell photo. Hugelkultur mounds can be higher – like this one made by Jack Kertesz of MOFGA and Unity College

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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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Crop Problems

Leafhopper burn on potato foliage. Eric Sideman photo. Phosphorus deficiency in corn. Eric Sideman photo. The Season is Beginning. Don’t Misdiagnose Your Problems. By Eric Sideman, Ph.D. This is a good time of year to study up on the biology and symptoms of problems that may later arise in your crops. Problems will arise, and

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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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