A Growers’ Guide By Eric Sideman, Ph.D. Director of Technical Services, MOFGA Local production for local consumption is a guiding principle for sustainable organic growing, but winter months are challenging for us in New England. Most growers hang up their tools and park their equipment, and consumers are left buying vegetables that have traveled thousands
Phosphorus deficient crops can be stunted; leaves may turn purple; and flowering and new shoot growth will be delayed. Often, cold soils or an improper pH for growth limit phosphorus availability, even while the soil holds plenty of phosphorus. Sideman photo. By Eric Sideman, Ph.D. After nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) is the next nutrient most
Leaves from deciduous trees, once shredded, make excellent mulch for most vegetable crops, and they enrich the soil. English photo. By Will Bonsall Trees and their leaves are probably the greatest natural soil builders on earth, greater even than grasses. (I mean “on earth” literally, as I am not including the oceans.) The incredible proliferation
Potassium deficiency on tomato leaves appears as mottled chlorosis (yellowing) and tip burn. Sideman photo. Yellow shoulder on tomatoes has no single cause but is related to a lack of foliage, varietal susceptibility and potassium deficiency. Sideman photo. By Eric Sideman, Ph.D. In the past two issues of The MOF&G, I discussed the plant mineral
Nitrogen deficiency often appears as a uniform yellowing on the lower leaves of plants. English photo. By Eric Sideman, Ph.D. Nitrogen (N) is the nutrient most commonly limiting crop growth and yield on organic farms. This is especially true when creating a farm from an old, abandoned field and when transitioning from conventional to organic
The 2010 Farmer to Farmer Conference at Point Lookout in Northport, Maine, featured a session on managing soils in high tunnels. Speakers were Vern Grubinger, University of Vermont vegetable and berry specialist; Bruce Hoskins of the University of Maine Diagnostic Lab; and Paul Volckhausen, who, with his wife Karen, grows organic tomatoes and other crops
By Eric Sideman, Ph.D., Director of Technical Services for MOFGA I am deeply concerned about a new direction for policy that I see developing behind the scenes at the U. S. Department of Agriculture: A crusade is brewing to eliminate the use of livestock manure on vegetable farms. The forces behind the effort base their
Professor Gilles Lemieux, the father of pedogenesis applied to agriculture. By Céline Caron Soil is much more than “dirt.” Why is such a disrespectful word still used for one of the major components of life on Earth? Humanity could not be sustained without the living soils and the living oceans. Let’s banish the word “dirt”
Nursery crops growing in grow-tubes filled with a compost-based medium. You can check the performance of plants growing in such a medium by growing a few in a commercial, non-compost based medium for comparison. English photo. By Jean English Working with compost-based seeding mixes is not a static thing. That was the main message Dr.
Jean English photo. By Sue Smith-Heavenrich Every summer I put in a garden: a patchwork of red and green lettuces, the traditional trio of corn-beans-squash, a splash of cosmos and bachelor buttons. Our garden puts food on the table, I tell my husband when I ask him to till up just one more weedy patch.