Tag: Soil

Spring Growth 2008

Russ Libby, MOFGA’s executive director, opened MOFGA’s 2008 Spring Growth Conference in March by asking, “What are the implications of changing energy prices and changing climate on Maine farmers?” He acknowledged Maine Rural Partners and the Risk Management Agency for underwriting the cost of the conference. Climate Change, Species Change George Jacobson, state climatologist and

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Weed Management

Don’t become lax in the fall and let summer annual weeds, such as pigweed (left) and lambsquarters go to seed. Learn about the life cycles of different weeds so that you know when and how to control them. English photo. by Eric Sideman, Ph.D. The most important distinction between organic and conventional growing is that

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Grazing Pigs Vs. Plum Curculio Jim Koan, owner of the 150-acre AlMar Orchards in Clayton Township, Michigan, grazes Berkshire hogs in his organic apple orchard, obtaining almost complete control of plum curculio within a few years. Plum curculios lay eggs in fruits in the spring, and the resultant larvae later cause fruit drop. On the

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‘Graffiti’ (top left), ‘Amazing’ (right) and ‘Cheddar’ cauliflower. Hutton says that ‘Cheddar’ is by far the favorite with the crew at Monmouth. Photo courtesy of Mark Hutton. The Maine climate is great for producing brassicas. At the 2007 Farmer-to-Farmer Conference, Mark Hutton of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s Highmoor Farm in Monmouth and Jason

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Ramial Chipped Wood

by Ann Currier       It has been encouraging to see the attention that Ramial Chipped Wood (RCW – chips of deciduous tree branches that are smaller than 7 cm in diameter) is getting in The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener. I first read about RCW in this paper in an article written by Tom

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Using Cottonseed Fertilizer

Far Better Options Exist by Alex Owre High-nitrogen content (6-2-2) cottonseed meal is an organic fertilizer that lowers the pH of soil, poses little danger of burning plants, and provides nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium as well as many minor plant food elements. It is cheap and readily available. In some states, however, cottonseed meal is

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by Diane Schivera, M.S., and Eric Sideman, Ph.D. Selenium (Se) serves important functions in all animals. Called the “protection mineral,” it is a key component in glutathione peroxidase, an antioxidant enzyme. The enzyme, found in red and white blood cells, heart muscle, brain, fat, lungs, liver, kidney and skeletal muscle, stops oxidation and thus protects

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Basics of Organic Soil Fertility

By Eric Sideman, Ph.D. Copyright 2006 In 1648, Jean-Baptiste van Helmont did a great experiment and had clear results, but he drew the wrong conclusion. Still, he was among the first on the path to understanding the role of soil in plant nutrition. He placed 200 pounds of soil in a pot and planted a

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Redefining Soil Fertility

There is No Soil Fertility Without a Healthy Forest Branches under 3 inches in diameter, from deciduous trees, can be chipped to make a soil-building, crop-fertilizing amendment.  English photo. by Céline Caron Terms in italics are defined in the glossary at the end of this article. Have you ever wondered how a forest can grow

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Creative Cover Cropping Ideas

By Alice Percy MOFGA’s 2006 Spring Growth Conference, titled “Cover Crop and Rotation Strategies for Organic Fertility and Weed Management,” attracted presenters from all over the Northeast and over 100 audience members. Presenters included Eric and Anne Nordell, who operate a horse-powered, mixed vegetable farm in Beech Grove, Penn., and contribute regularly to the Small

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