Organic Farming Manual

Miracle Farm Blueprint

This guide teaches you how to make the best worm farm that money can buy; and you don't have to spend much money to get a really good quality worm farm! While worms may not seem very impressive, you'd be amazed at what these worms can do. If you want to grow your own food, the best soil that you will ever get is soil that worms have thoroughly turned over. No matter what the soil in your area looks like, you will always be able to get the highest quality soil to grow plants in. You will have the most protein-rich, nutritious, and potent soil that you've ever seen. The all-natural soil that is worm-tended is far better than what you will get from organic growers; all that it takes is the process that nature invented. That's really all you need to get the best organic vegetables! Read more here...

Miracle Farm Blueprint Overview


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The Origins of Organic Agriculture in the United States

As close as anyone can determine, the first use of the term organic (in this country, anyway) was in 1940. J.I. Rodale coined it in an article for the publication Fact Digest.(5) Shortly thereafter, he launched Organic Farming and Gardening (OFG) magazine for many years the flagship publication of Rodale Press. Along with OFG, Rodale Press published (and continues to publish) a large number of books and booklets on organic agriculture. For a long time the publishing house was the most highly visible and accessible source of information about non-chemical farming and gardening in the U.S. As such, it was probably the single greatest influence on the shape and underlying philosophy of mainstream organics. J.I. Rodale drew his concept of organic agriculture from a number of sources, including Louis Bromfield (the author of Malabar Farm and other books on conservation farming), Dr. William Albrecht (from the Department of Soils at the University of Missouri), and the Biodynamic movement....

Supplement to An Overview of Organic Crop Production History and Philosophy of Organic Agriculture

Many of the foundational books on organic farming are out of print, but they should not be too difficult to locate through interlibrary loan or a good used bookstore. A few resources currently available are The Soil and Health Library at features many old titles on-line. Among them are Albert Howard's An Agricultural Testament and Soil and Health, Eve Balfour's Toward a Sustainable Agriculture - The Living Soil, and Newman Turner's Fertility Farming. Several contemporary books on organic agriculture and organic soil management that deserve mention include the following Organic Farming, by Nicholas Lampkin. 701 p. A highly comprehensive book on organics published in England. Successful Small-Scale Farming, by Karl Schwenke. 134 p. A low-capital approach to organic farming. Building Soils for Better Crops, by Fred Magdof and Harold van Es. 240 p. Practical information on soil management to boost fertility and yields while reducing environmental impacts and pest pressures. Available for...

What is Organic Agriculture

Over the years, it has become commonplace to understand and define organic agriculture as farming without synthetic pesticides and conventional fertilizers. This should not be considered a definition but a characteristic only one characteristic of a socially and environmentally conscious approach to agriculture that is currently experiencing rapid growth in the U.S.(1) A more suitable definition of organic agriculture is provided by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) the federal advisory panel created to advise the USDA on developing organic legislation. The NOSB definition, not surprisingly, is similar to many definitions of sustainable agriculture. Research on organic farms, done over several decades, has revealed characteristics usually associated with sustainable farming, such as reduced soil erosion (3), lower fossil fuel consumption (3), less leaching of nitrate (4), greater carbon sequestration (4) and, of course, little to no pesticide use.

Livestock on Organic Farms

Among the thorniest of issues swirling around the edges of organic agriculture is the role of livestock. The disagreements arise because of the diversity of people and philosophies in the organic community. Organic agriculture can usually count vegetarians and animal welfare proponents among its more vocal supporters. Many of these people feel strongly that animals should not be exploited. Their rationale often goes beyond emotional and religious beliefs convincing human health concerns, social issues, and environmental reasons are commonly cited. On the other side of this argument are those who feel that an organic farm cannot achieve its full potential or ecological balance without livestock manure that it is essential to nutrient cycling and to the finer aspects of soil building. Excellent soil fertility can be built in the absence of farm livestock and livestock manures by using vegetation-based composts (25) and by harnessing the livestock in the soil earthworms and other soil...

Organic Agriculture

Because the majority of organic soybeans are destined for the edible tofu market, a white seed color is required. Soybeans will enter the organic feed market at a reduced price if there is purple, brown, or tan staining from Cercospora, Fusarium, soybean mosaic virus, or bean pod mottle virus, transmitted by the bean leaf beetle. Although certain varieties appear to resist staining, high rainfall during pod set may create ideal conditions for the spread of the disease in any variety. Soybean cyst nematode has not been found to be a problem on organic farms. Several factors, including crop rotations and chemical exu-dates from crop residues and manure applications, may mitigate against nematode survival. Soil sampling two weeks prior to harvest is recommended to determine any possible nematode introductions. Non-GMO SCN-resistant varieties can be used if infestations are detected.

Sustainable Agriculture

The replacement of relatively small farms and individual farmers by so-called 'agribusiness' in which many small farms are consolidated into large commercial operations, not unlike the Soviet collective farms, may also be unsustainable. Businessmen do not make good farmers. Biological systems that are left to the ignorant care of an MBA (Master of Business Administration) tend to degenerate. Major losses in soil structure and soil microbiological activity in agribusiness farms have already occurred and are there for all to see. Similarly, the Soviet system of large collective farms collapsed spectacularly because they were not economically sustainable. However, this does not imply that these collectives were agriculturally sustainable. Bureaucrats do not make good farmers. The best motive for sustainable agriculture comes from the individual farmer who wants his son to inherit a farm that is in 'good heart'. But such farmers are being driven out of production by the economic pressure...

Organic Farming Niche Market or Viable Alternative

The pioneers of organic farming considered organics the preferred direction for the whole of agriculture to take. It is likely that most contemporary proponents still hold that view. While recent growth in the organic industry is definitely encouraging, much of the impetus is tied to its growth as a niche market, not as a serious shift in the direction of mainstream agriculture. Unfortunately, a likely reason for the newfound tolerance of organic agriculture in many land grant universities and other formerly hostile environs is its perception as a niche market opportunity only. As such, it is not a serious threat to the status quo. Is it practical and responsible to promote organic agriculture as the dominant approach to farming in the future While some are quick to answer, Yes , most are buffaloed by the nagging question, Can organic agriculture feed the world Questions about the productivity and the prospects of widespread starvation have long been an effective tactic for...

Conservation Tillage and Organic Farming

Organic agriculture is often characterized as addicted to maximum tillage with growers using every opportunity to lay the land bare with shovel, plow, or rototiller. This image has been magnified through the popularity of small-scale organic systems like the French Intensive and Biointensive Mini Farming models that espouse double- and triple-digging to create deep rooting beds. While appropriate to such intensive systems, this degree of cultivation is not characteristic of organic agriculture in general. It may surprise some to learn that a large number of organic producers are not only interested in conservation tillage, they have adopted it. This will be a surprise because many believe that conservation tillage always requires herbicides. The interest in conservation tillage among organic producers in the Cornbelt was well documented in the mid-1970s by Washington University researchers. They noted that the vast majority of organic farmers participating in their studies had...

High Input Organic Agriculture

At the beginning of this publication, organic farming was described as a system that uses a minimum of off-farm inputs. While that describes most of organic agriculture as it is currently practiced in the U.S., certified organic farming can also entail much greater reliance on off-farm inputs. The labeling of such high-input systems as organic presents a paradox for many proponents of organic agriculture. It is unclear whether these technological advancements reflect the kind of farming most practitioners and supporters of organ-ics think of as truly organic. To begin with, the research citing environmental and economic benefits has largely been done on low-input organic systems it is questionable whether similar findings would be made about high-input systems, especially regarding environmental matters. Of particular note, while low-input organic systems are documented as being more resistant to erosion, fields under plastic mulch are reported to be fifteen times more erodible.(34)...

A common misonceptiom

Many organic farmers believe that well-nourished plants have more resistance to crop parasites than poorly nourished plants. However, this is a misconception. Plant nutrition is a physiological phenomenon, and plant resistance to parasites is a genetic phenomenon. These two phenomena are independent of each other. While well-nourished plants will grow better, and will probably both taste better, and provide better human nourishment, they are Organic farming can reduce the incidence of pests and diseases by restoring natural controls that were lost with the advent of conventional farming. These include biological controls (see 6.7), an improved soil microbiological activity, greater biodiversity, and a reduced host population density. But a reduced incidence of parasitism is not necessarily due to an increased resistance to parasitism. It must be appreciated that organic farmers are usually able to escape serious outbreaks of pests and diseases only because their farmer neighbours are...

Biological Pest Control

Organic farming relies heavily on populations of beneficial insect predators and parasites, pest disease agents, insect-eating birds and bats, and other creatures, to help manage pest problems. These biological controls help keep pest numbers at levels where further cultural activities or relatively mild pesticides are (usually) adequate to assure a crop. In some instances, biological control can be so effective that no additional action is even needed by the farmer. Some see biological control as a default benefit of the soil fertility practices of organic farming. The diversity of crops in a soil-building rotation, the use of cover crops, and other practices build a diverse soil biology that works to keep soil pests in check. They also provide substantial above-ground habitat for beneficials. The absence of pesticides also favors biocontrol.

Pest Management Working with Nature

The basis of insect, disease, and nematode management in organic farming systems is the reliance on the inherent equilibrium in nature. Most insect pests have natural enemies to keep their populations in check. Natural enemies include insect predators (insects that consume part or all of pest insects), parasites (insects that use other insects to produce their offspring, thereby killing the pest insect in the process), and pathogens (diseases that kill or decrease the growth rate of insect pests). Predatory insects on organic farms include lady beetles, lacewings, and spiders. Parasitic insects include wasps and flies that lay their eggs in on pest insects, such as larvae or caterpillars. Green lacewings are prominent predators on organic farms in Iowa. Green lacewings are prominent predators on organic farms in Iowa. Prevention is a cornerstone of organic farming. Only pest-free seeds and transplants should be brought onto organic farms. Physical and cultural methods are used to...

Manuring and Composting

This has created some concerns in the organic community, since much manure is now generated by large, industrial agriculture feeding operations called CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operations). Not only are there concerns about contaminants (heavy metals, antibiotics, pesticides, hormones) but many in the organic community also object to any partnering with this segment of conventional agriculture, which is considered at odds with the environmental and social values represented by organic farming. Another issue that has grown up around manure use in organic farming relates to food safety. At a time when concerns about microbial contamination are high, there are questions about the risks associated with manure use on food crops. A focus piece on the February 2000 television news program 20 20 was especially controversial. The segment suggested that organic foods were more dangerous than other food products in the marketplace due to manure fertilization. (22) The reporter ignored the...

Artificial fertilisers

Organic farmers argue that they can use farmyard manure and other biological waste, such as compost and green manure, in place of artificial fertilisers. (Micro-organisms decompose this waste into the basic plant nutrients). And if their own farms do not produce enough biological waste, they can obtain more from a neighbouring dairy, chicken, or pig farm, or from a sewage works. This is the rub. There is never enough biological waste to provide all the plant nutrients needed by all the crops necessary to feed everyone. On a global basis, biological wastes would provide only a small fraction of the total plant nutrients required. If we suddenly depended exclusively on biological wastes to nourish our crops, an estimated one billion people would die of starvation, and several billion more would suffer severe malnutrition. The main arguments against artificial fertilisers are environmental and they concern the contamination of ground water, lakes, and rivers from an excessive use of...

The dislike of synthetic chemicals

Organic farmers are the people most likely to demonstrate the practicality of private plant breeding and of self-organising agro-ecosystems (see 11). Organic farmers and consumers of organic food have a general dislike of 'chemicals'. By this, they mean synthetic chemicals, produced in chemical factories. (Water, oxygen, and common salt are also chemicals but no one denies their essential role in living systems). These factory-produced chemicals include all the synthetic crop protection chemicals, such as insecticides and fungicides, as well as herbicides, and artificial fertilisers. In attempting to avoid these chemicals, organic farmers aim to produce food that is almost entirely free of them. I say almost because chemists can now detect concentrations of less than one part in a billion, and it is worth understanding exactly that we are not exposed to hazardous levels of radiation. The same should be true of synthetic chemicals. That is, tolerances are essential. After all, no...

First Steps to Certification

The first step in becoming certified for organic production is contacting a certification agency. By joining a local organic certification association, organic farmers may participate in various meetings, field days, and visits to organic farms. Certain sections of land can be converted (such as CRP) immediately into certified organic status if no synthetic chemicals (including Round-Up and fertilizers) have been applied for the previous three years.

Weed Management Multiple Tactics Work Best

Most organic farmers rely on multiple tactics for their weed management. Allelo-pathic crops, cultivation, mulching, and flame burning are methods available to organic farmers. Depending on the crop, cultivation offers the least laborintensive method of weed management. Timely cultivation is key weeds will proliferate without specific schedules. Propane flame burning is generally used in conjunction with Most organic farmers to organic farmers. cultivation, particularly during times of high field moisture. Mulching with straw or wood chips is a common practice in many horticultural operations. Mulch from organic farms is preferred to avoid any possibility of pesticide residues from conventional materials. If organic sources are not available, turning the mulch pile for several weeks prior to application is recommended (follow composting practices). Allelopathic crops, such as rye and oats, exude a chemical that mitigates against weed establishment and seedling vigor and are...

Self Organising Agricultural Systems

Consider the food production system of a single country. There are, perhaps, a million farmers, each making individual decisions about his farming system, his crops, and his harvests. Although independent and individual, these decisions are influenced by outside factors. Apart from such general considerations as climate, the most important of these external factors is probably the current market price of the farm commodity in question. Glut leads to low prices, and shortage leads to high prices. This is negative feedback in a complex adaptive system, and it results in an overall homeostasis. Although the total production is relatively stable, abnormal seasons and other factors may affect it. Consequently, production fluctuates within certain limits, but these limits are normally acceptable. The production system is also resilient, and it can respond quickly to changes in supply and demand. It is a self-organising, complex, adaptive, nonlinear system.

Supplemental Fertilization

In many organic systems, crop rotation, manuring, green manuring, along with enhanced biological activity in the soil, provide an abundant supply of plant-essential minerals annually. This is especially true on naturally deep and rich prairie soils. It is less true on poorer soils and on those that have been heavily exploited through non-sustainable farming practices. To correct mineral deficiencies in organically managed soils, organic growers of

Two kinds of host propagation

Be referred to as non-diverging propagation, and it is essential in commercial agriculture if the desirable qualities of the cultivar are to be maintained. Non-diverging propagation means that the host population is genetically uniform, genetically inflexible, and that it cannot respond to selection pressures during the cultivation process. It can respond to selection pressures only during the breeding process.

Two Kinds of Parasite Control

So long as agriculture was 'close to nature' and 'primitive', yields and crop quality were relatively low, and the control of crop parasites was non-linear and stable. With the advent of modern commercial agriculture, yields and crop quality improved dramatically, but the control of crop parasites became linear, and unstable. We must now return to a non-linear control of crop parasites, while retaining the high yields and crop quality of modern agriculture. We can do this with self-organising agro-ecosystems (see 11.21).

Spatial Discontinuity

One of the most important differences between commercial agriculture and subsistence farming is that subsistence farmers usually plant mixtures of crop species, with mixtures of genetic lines within each species. This genetic diversity is comparable to that of many wild ecosystems. However, the use of such mixtures is very labour-intensive and it cannot be recommended for commercial agriculture.

The Normal Level of Horizontal Resistance

However, there is some factual evidence from agriculture. Before the industrial revolution, draught animals, such as horses or oxen, were used for ploughing and drawing carts. But all other work was done by hand. Furthermore, fertilisers were limited to farmyard manure, and there was never enough. These various factors meant that yields were generally rather low. The control of crop parasites was limited to rotation and, perhaps, the burning of crop residues. However, centuries, indeed, millennia, of selection by farmers had produced local landraces that must have had adequate resistance to all the locally important parasites. These crops were grown successfully and economically, without any crop protection chemicals. These cultivars are now known as 'heritage' or 'heirloom' seeds, and they are in demand among organic farmers. Had these heritage seeds been as susceptible as many modern cultivars, for which crop protection chemicals are essential, the world would have starved. With the...

Advantages for the professors

Short-term research grants have no guarantee of renewal and our system of financing agricultural research discourages long-term research projects, such as breeding for horizontal resistance. Because the breeding club work would be a teaching activity, its continuation would be secure, and the professor in charge could undertake long-term research in this topic. It need hardly be added that this is an area that has been seriously neglected, and that such research is urgently needed. In no small measure, this neglect has been due to the long-term nature of the research, and the insecurity of the research grant system.

Required Certification Practices for Livestock

Purchasing (or raising your own) parasite-free, organically-raised stock and providing access to ample pasture, water, and nutritional feed should allow for healthy organic livestock production. Livestock must receive 100 percent organic feed. Synthetic hormones and antibiotics are not permitted however, the natural bacteria present in vaccinations is permissible. Synthetic parasiticides are not allowed instead, organic farmers rely on natural parasiticides, such as diatomaceous earth (DE). Livestock must have access to pasture in

Changing selection pressures

Second, there is a very real danger that no seedlings whatever will survive. If this danger is real, it is entirely legitimate to treat the screening population with crop protection chemicals to enable the few survivors to set seed. This requirement may discourage organic farmers from breeding for horizontal resistance, but they can always rent a field on a conventional farm for the early breeding cycles that may require protection.

Harvesting and Storage

Harvesting and storage of organic soybeans represent the final key areas of concern in garnering premium prices. The contract will dictate the desired seed size, moisture content, and cleanliness of the soybean harvest. Certain weed seeds, such as nightshade, can stain soybeans and must be weeded from fields prior to harvest. In general, organic farmers plan for one hour of hand-weeding, or walking, for every acre of soybeans.

Advantages for the students

Having returned to their family farm, or arrived at their new place of work, graduates would be encouraged to start one or more new breeding clubs among farmers and other interested parties. This would lead to a proliferation of breeding activity. Their knowledge of breeding for horizontal

Reversible and Irreversible Ecosystem Damage

Similarly, early agriculture has been responsible for much soil erosion. This is seen, for example, in Greece and much of the Middle East. The cedars of Lebanon have long since disappeared, because of both deforestation and soil erosion. Modern agriculture is not entirely blameless in this regard.

Planned Crop Rotation

Organic Field Crop Rotation

Agronomic operations are especially dependent on crop rotations that include forage legumes. These provide the vast majority of the nitrogen required by subsequent crops like corn, which is a heavy consumer of that nutrient. Even when livestock are present to generate manure, the animals are largely recycling the nitrogen originally fixed by legumes in the system. An example of a basic agronomic rotation, typical of that found on midwestern organic farms, is shown in Figure 2.

Epidemiological isolation

It is worth noting that organic farmers benefit from an artificial epidemiological isolation. They are greatly protected by their neighbours' use of crop protection chemicals. If their neighbours were not spraying, say, their potatoes against blight and Colorado beetle, the organic farmers would probably lose their potato crops entirely because of the huge influx of parasites from those unsprayed crops. (Their neighbours would also lose their crops). In this sense, many organic farmers depend rather heavily on crop protection chemicals, but they do so indirectly. And this dependence will be effective only so long as organic farmers are in a very small minority. If they intend to become a majority, we will be compelled to develop new cultivars with high levels of comprehensive horizontal resistance to all locally important parasites.

Epidemiological Competence

Must be conducted in the agro-ecosystem of future cultivation. In detail, this means that the screening must be conducted (i) in the area of future cultivation, (ii) in the time of year of future cultivation, and (iii) according to the farming system of future cultivation.

Preplanting and Seed Selection

Organic soybeans were grown on approximately 60,000 acres in Iowa in 1998. Though the market remains strong for organic soybeans, determining your market should occur before any acreage is planned. Buyers will help determine the varieties their organic farmers should grow based on their needs. A list of some of the buyers operating in Iowa is included on page 14. All organic soybean varieties are bred for the food-based tofu or natto market (e.g., specific seed size and protein requirements). Many organic farmers plant a cover crop of winter rye on ridges prior to their soybean crop to assist in erosion and weed prevention. Rotary hoes or harrows are the first tillage operation used on organic farms. Rotary hoes or harrows are the first tillage operation used on organic farms. Many organic farmers plant a cover crop of winter rye on ridges prior to their soybean crop to assist in erosion and weed prevention.


Although many European countries financially support their farmers' organic production practices, the United States has made small gains in this area. In Iowa, the Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) offers organic farmers 50 acre during their transition to organic farming through the Environmental Quality Indicators Program (EQIP). and through the new organic cost-share programs with the 2002 Farm Bill. Check with local NRCS or FSA offices regarding deadlines and required documents. Other conservation practices used on organic farms (e.g., riparian buffer strips, filter strips, and crop rotations) also may qualify for cost sharing. The basis for all organic farming systems is the health of the soil. The Basis for Organic Farming Organic farmers strive to maintain adequate fertility as well as biologically active soil with the microbial populations required for nutrient cycling. Crop rotation provides nutrients such as nitrogen from legume crops and carbonaceous biomass...

Summing Up

While there have been varying notions of organic farming over the years, the growth of the industry and the introduction of standards and certification have led to a clearer definition in recent years. That definition describes organics as a viable agriculture, based on sound farming practices, that does not include synthetic chemicals. Certified organic agriculture can be further characterized by a set of principles that include biodiversity, integration, sustainability, natural plant nutrition, natural pest management, and integrity. As the organic industry continues to grow and evolve, it faces many challenges, including the consequences of its own success. Economic opportunities invite new players into the marketplace who may have little interest in sustainability or the positive social benefits many have come to associate with organics. This matter was touched on by rural socialogist Dr. William Heffernan. Dr. Hef-fernan has gained considerable attention in recent years for his...

Organic Principles

There are several compelling principles that characterize certified organic farming. They include biodiversity, integration, sustainability, natural plant Good organic farmers mimic the biodiversity of nature through practices like intercropping, companion planting, establishment of beneficial habitats, and crop rotation (sometimes referred to as companion planting across time). The effort to increase biodiversity works hand-in-hand with enterprise diversity, which is often (but not necessarily) an objective on organic farms.

Notions of Organic

As organic farming and marketing entered the 1970s, it began to develop as an industry. As a result, a clearer definition was needed to distinguish it and its products from conventional agriculture. This was no straightforward task. Environmental issues and other alternative agriculture philosophies had created diverse notions about what organic agriculture was and what it should be. A particularly problematic image grew unexpectedly from the anti-pesticide movement of the 1960s. This was the romantic notion that organic simply meant doing next-to-nothing. In this exploitative approach, not only were pesticides avoided, sound farming practices that built the soil were also largely ignored. The results achieved on such farms were predictable, as yields were low and the quality poor. These approaches became collectively known as organic by neglect and are a far cry from the responsible farming models proposed by Albert Howard and J.I. Rodale. It is unclear how many farmers actually...

Landmark Research

Throughout its early history, organic agriculture was treated with either hostility or apathy by the USDA, land grant universities, and conventional agriculture in general. Since it was largely promoted as a better alternative to the status quo, this is not surprising. Fortunately, the atmosphere for discussing and investigating organics has improved considerably. While it did not become boldly evident until the 1990s, the tide actually began turning in the late 1970s and early 1980s. A number of factors precipitated this change, among them the growth in the organic industry. Serious money demands serious attention. Also critical, from the perspective of the research community especially, were some landmark studies that lend credibility to organic farming as a truly viable option for American agriculture. The first of these landmarks was a series of studies done by Washington University. Funded by the National Science Foundation, this research was motivated by the energy crisis of the...

World Statistics

Worldwide consumption of organic products has experienced tremendous growth, often surpassing the U.S. figures of 20 percent annual gain. Much of the increase in worldwide consumption has been fueled by consumers' demand for GMO-free products. Because GMOs are disallowed in organic production and processing, organic products automatically are designated as GMO-free at the marketplace. European consumers have led the demand for organic products, particularly in countries such as the Netherlands, Italy, and Austria. Two percent of all German farmland, four percent of Italian farmland, and 10 percent of Austrian farmland is managed organically. Prince Charles of England has developed a model organic farm and has established a system of government support for farmers making the transition to organic production. Major supermarket chains and restaurants in Europe and the United States offer a wide variety of organic products in their aisles and on their menus. through conservation of food...


In addition to the greater economic sustainability afforded by enterprise diversification, organic farmers are often able to reap market premiums for certified production. However, since many organic enterprises realize somewhat lower marketable yields, this has not always translated into higher profits or greater economic sustainability. As more and more organic growers enter the marketplace, it is likely that premiums will stabilize at modest levels and may vanish for some crops. Organic producers need to look well ahead and be aware of shifting trends. As alluded to earlier, many U.S. organic farms perform well on many of the measurable indicators associated with sustainability, such as energy consumption and environmental protection. However, sustainability is an ideal, and the best that can be said is that current organic farms are closer to the ideal than most alternatives certainly closer than comparable conventional farming operations. The extent to which traditional organic...

Crop Pathosystems

The first crop fungicide was discovered in 1882. This was Bordeaux mixture, made with copper sulphate and slaked lime, although flowers of sulphur had been used against powdery mildews a little earlier. The first effective crop insecticide was discovered only in 1940, and this was DDT. Until the discovery of these crop protection chemicals, crop pathosystems were largely self-controlled and self-organising. They had to be, otherwise crop production would have stopped. And, if the crop parasites were causing losses, there was little that the farmer could do about it, other than using simple farming practices, such as crop rotation, and the burning of crop residues. However, the crop losses from


Commercial agriculture, however, stresses crop uniformity. An important reason for this is the cost of labour. Mixed cropping is labour-intensive, and it is usually not amenable to the major labour-saving practices, such as mechanical harvesting and selective herbicides. This difference is revealed in the degree of economic development of a country. In a non-industrial country, as many as 80 of the population may be engaged in agriculture while, in an industrial country, this figure may be as low as 2 .

Nutrient Absorption

Critics are often under the illusion that organic farmers believe plants obtain all their nutrients from an organically managed soil in a chemically organic form. While a few organicists may believe that, the majority recognizes that digestion processes in the soil release minerals in forms similar to those applied as commercial fertilizers. Unfortunately, the notion that organic farmers are na ve and ignorant about basic agronomy is a red herring that has often foiled intelligent discussion about the pros and cons of the system. It is organic farming's approach to soil building and plant fertilization that is the true basis for the belief that organic food and feed has superior nutritional value, much more so than the absence of pesticide residues, which has drawn the spotlight ever since the 1960s. As scientific understanding has grown, insect pest outbreaks are also being understood as imbalances in the whole agroecosystem and how it is managed. In nature, massive pest outbreaks...

The Organic Foods Production

The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) includes a set of standards for organic growing. Pesticides, fertilizers, and other farm and garden products meeting these standards are acceptable for use in USDA-certified organic farming, production, and processing operations. In a nutshell, here's what's acceptable and what's not under NOP standards Although some people label the National Organic Program as a watering-down of the principles of organic farming, it does ensure that the products you buy meet certain criteria.

Reliance of soil fertility management on biological processes

In contrast, a primary principle of organic farming is to feed the soil so that the soil can feed the plants. A healthy soil has good tilth and mineralizes organic matter efficiently, to provide plants with their required nutrients. It also has a diverse population of soil organisms that enhance plant growth in various ways, such as through symbiotic relationships with the plant, exuding enzymes into the soil, degrading toxins, and competing with pathogenic organisms. Practices and inputs used by organic producers (as well as many others in sustainable agriculture) promote biologically healthy soils that sustain fertility in ways different from conventional systems. Organic systems use legumes and algae to fix atmospheric nitrogen in the soil. They promote the decomposition of plant and animal residues to make nutrients from them available to plants. Additionally, soil organisms produce bacterial gels and microbial threads that bind soil into aggregates, form humates that hold water...

Sclerotina sclerotiorum

When screening a large population for horizontal resistance, there is a danger, in the early breeding cycles, that every individual will be killed and the entire breeding population lost. This overkill can be prevented by using crop protection chemicals late in the season to ensure that the least susceptible plants produce a few seeds. If the breeding is being conducted on an organic farm, where crop protection chemicals cannot be used, it may be preferable to rent some land on a conventional farm for these early breeding cycles.

The Human Nutrient Cycle

When crops are produced from soil, it is advisable that the organic residues resulting from those crops, including animal excrements, be returned to the soil from which the crops originated. This recycling of organic residues for agricultural purposes is fundamental to sustainable agriculture. Yet, spokespersons for sustainable agriculture movements remain silent about using humanure for agricultural purposes. Why

Engineering of Insect and Nematode Resistance

Today, engineered insect and nematode resistance are becoming an essential part of a sustainable agriculture in both developing and developed countries worldwide. In 2007, insect-resistant plants based on the transgenic technology were grown on an area of 46 million hectares, more than half of it (26.9 million ha) with a stacked trait of herbicide- and insect-resistant seeds and 19.1 million hectares with insect resistance alone (James 2008). So far, several approaches are under discussion. The first one relies on expression of genes of interest in transgenic plants, whose products are non-phytotoxic but strong anti-parasitic, either lethal toxic or interfering with parasites after their take-up by parasites consequently affecting their development and reproduction. Such transgenes can encode enzymatic inhibitors that block physiological processes within the pest, toxic compounds that are then ingested, compounds that bind to signal molecules, enzymes that interfere with the nematode....

State Inspection Programs

ATTRA is the national sustainable agriculture information service operated by the National Center for Appropriate Technology, through a grant from the Rural Business-Cooperative Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. These organizations do not recommend or endorse products, companies, or individuals. NCAT has offices in Fayetteville, Arkansas (P.O. Box 3657, Fayetteville, AR 72702), Butte, Montana, and Davis, California.

When The Crap Hit The

While the Asians were practicing sustainable agriculture and recycling their organic resources and doing so over millennia, what were the people of the West doing What were the Europeans and those of European descent doing Why weren't our European ancestors returning their manures to the soil, too After all, it does make sense. The Asians who recycled their manures not only recovered a resource and reduced pollution, but by returning their excrement to the soil, they succeeded in reducing threats to their health. There was no putrid sewage collecting and breeding disease germs. Instead, the humanure was, for the most part, undergoing a natural, non-chemical purification process in the soil which required no technology.

See Allium cepa Onobrychis viciifolia

Because the epidemiological competence of parasites varies from one agro-ecosystem to another, the requirement for horizontal resistance, to each of these parasite, also varies. If a cultivar is to be fully adapted to its agro-ecosystem, its selection during breeding must be conducted within that agro-ecosystem. Although this is called on-site selection, it means three things that the selection work is conducted in the area of future cultivation, during the time of year of future cultivation, and according to the farming system of future cultivation. The purpose of on-site selection is to achieve local optimisation of the many quantitative variables that can occur within a cultivar,

Approaching your prospective customers

Your goal with this first customer contact is to get them to agree to showcase your herbs in their market. Tell them right off the bat that you would love a chance to leave them there on consignment to eliminate any financial commitment from the vendor except once they are sold. You will need to be competitive with their current suppliers but if your herbs are significantly of better quality, you have the upper hand here. Assume that every vendor is looking to double their money so if a bunch of basil sells for 3.99 you can bet they are paying about 1.50 - Since you are leaving them there on consignment and your costs (due to the higher quality farming techniques you use) are considerably higher than those grown out in the field, explain that upon sale of the produce, they will pay you 50 of the sale price. Now remember - I told you to start small - this is so you can get some experience and confidence. Once they agree and you work out a delivery and payment schedule, you are now in...

For large and ambitious projects

Most garden ponds don't need planning permission. But if you are making a very large pond, if it is close to your boundary (especially if this is a road or footpath) or on agricultural land, contact your planning officer and ask for advice. Officers are almost always helpful and often interested in ponds themselves.

Wastewater Treatment Plants

Many modern wastewater plants use a process of activated sludge treatment whereby oxygen is vigorously bubbled through the wastewater in order to activate microbial digestion of the solids. This aeration stage is combined with a settling stage that allows the solids to be removed. The removed solids, known as sludge, are either used to reinoculate the incoming wastewater, or they're dewatered to the consistency of a dry mud and buried in landfills. Sometimes the sludge is applied to agricultural land, and now, sometimes, it's composted.

Years of Horticulture

Forestry, agronomy, and horticulture make up three branches of agricultural science. Forestry is a discipline that concentrates on trees that grow in a forest. Agronomy focuses on cereal crops, such as oats, barley, and wheat plus the forage crops that feed domesticated animals in pastures. The word horticulture derives from the Latin word hortus, which was used in Roman times to define a garden on an estate usually one smaller than five acres. Anything larger than this was referred to as a farm.

Alternative Wastewater Treatment Systems

According to EPA officials, the emergence of constructed wetlands technology shows great potential as a cost-effective alternative to wastewater treatment. The wetlands method is said to be relatively affordable, energy-efficient, practical and effective. The treatment efficiency of properly constructed wetlands is said to compare well with conventional treatment systems.31 Unfortunately, wetlands systems don't recover the agricultural resources available in humanure. Another system uses solar-powered, greenhouse-like technology to treat wastewater. This system uses hundreds of species of bacteria, fungi, protozoa, snails, plants and fish, among other things, to produce advanced levels of wastewater treatment. These Solar Aquatics systems are also experimental, but appear hopeful.33 Again, the agricultural resources of humanure are lost when using any disposal method or wastewater treatment technique instead of a huma-nure recycling method.

Organic matter in soil

A typical mineral soil contains between 2 and 5 per cent organic matter. This is made up of living organisms such as plant roots, earthworms, insects, fungi and bacteria. On death these then decompose along with any other organic matter that is incorporated, either naturally such as leaves or by the addition of organic matter from elsewhere such as compost, farmyard manure, spent mushroom compost, coir and bark. Many of the living organisms are responsible for the decomposition of the dead organic matter. This is eventually broken down into its component parts becoming carbon dioxide, water, and minerals all of which is recycled. There also persists for a very long time a group of organic compounds collectively known as humus.

Sustainable Horticulture

In 1985, Congress set up the LISA (Low Input Sustainable Agriculture) program, which has since been renamed SARE (Sustainable Agriculture and Research Education). In 1991, SARE and the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) launched a joint venture to reduce agricultural pollution. Although sustainable methods are promoted by the U.S. government and land-grant colleges with extensive research in the field, they have yet to be adopted by the majority of growers in the United States because of the fear that reliance on organic methods will reduce yield and be incompatible with socioeconomic needs.

Management of crop nutrients and soil fertility

Organic soil fertility management is based on feeding the soil a rich, complex diet of plant residues, animal manures, and compost. In contrast, conventional agriculture simplifies crop nutrient and soil fertility management by feeding the plant soluble nutrients. Thus, crop nutrition in conventional agriculture can be managed with three pieces of information 1) the amounts of nutrients used by the crop during the growing season, 2) the amount of plant-available nutrients in the soil, and 3) the amounts of fertilizer nutrients that need to be added to account for differences between crop nutrient needs and available soil nutrients.

Herbs Organic ATTra Greenhouse Production

Herbs Marketing

A Publication of ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service 1-800-346-9140 ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service is managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and is funded under a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Business-Cooperative Service. Visit the NCAT Web site ( agri. html) for more information on our sustainable agriculture projects. NCAT Small farmers who have greenhouses grow herbs along with winter salad greens,

Permaculture In Humid Landscapes

Bunyip Level Yeomans

What we are up to is taking water off non-agricultural land, and preferably forested land, collecting the water and the snow melt that has filtered through this forest. We don't want to cultivate those upper slopes. They are too steep, and they shouldn't be cultivated. Depending on your soil, don't cultivate beyond a 19 degree slope. You can get guidance on this from your local soils people. Generally, the sandier it gets, the less slope you will cultivate. With clay, you might get away with cultivating at 20 degrees probably once or twice. keyline. We comb the soils out. Of course, if you have forest below the keyline, this treatment won't be necessary, because the forest will be doing all that. The forest is driving down roots and they are rotting it is putting little sticks on the landscape, and it is holding water up, and it is laying down duff. Let us say this is going to be agricultural land, so this is how we will proceed. If it is now agricultural and we are going to make it...

The Terrible Time Of

We don't have to look any further than the soil, or any further than the forest, to see a finite world. I think we can say with confidence that we don't have a sustainable agriculture anywhere in the world, or a sustainable forestry. Now let's look at Russia. The peasant farmer, on a half-acre to an acre, is producing some 84 of the food. The state farms, which occupy most of the agricultural land, produce the remainder. But the state farms are not doing their job. They have a 6 deficit, which is shipped in from Canada or the United States. The glamorous agriculture, the large scale, broad scale agriculture, is not the agriculture that is producing the food. The agriculture departments have defined agricultural land. What they mean is land which can be tilled. But I don't see any landscape as being non-agricultural. There is a whole hierarchy of productivity in landscape, and it all can be used for production. So there are really two strategies for our consideration in agriculture....

Agricultural Use Of Sewage Sludge

When I asked the supervisor of my local wastewater treatment plant if the one million gallons of sludge the plant produces each year, from a population of 8,000 people, was being applied to agricultural land, he said, It takes six months and five thousand dollars to get a permit for a land application. Another problem is that due to regulations, the sludge can't lie on the surface after it's applied, so it has to be plowed under shortly after application. When farmers get the right conditions to plow their fields, they plow them. They can't wait around for us, and we can't have sludge ready to go at plowing time. It may be just as well.

Commercial Horticulture

As urban sprawl encroaches on agricultural land, there are conflicts. The well-drained loamy soils that are perfect for growing crops are also ideal for building houses, and it is very tempting for a farmer who is barely getting by to sell the land to the highest bidder. When residential neighborhoods come into contact with farmland, there are concerns with dangers associated with pesticide drift and drinking water contamination. Across the United States, prime farmland is being turned into housing developments. Increased pressure for biofuels (such as ethanol, which is made from corn) may translate into even more land taken away from food production, with a corresponding increase in the amount of chemical fertilizers and herbicides applied.

A tomato for every climate

The Florida Agricultural Experiment Station has released many heat-tolerant tomato plants, starting with the popular variety 'Marglobe' in 1925. Others worth trying are standard globe varieties 'Mule Team' (p25), 'Stone,' 'Thessaloniki,' and 'Tropic' the Italian beefsteaks 'Costoluto Genovese' (p56) and 'Costoluto Fiorentino,' as well as 'Great White,' 'Homestead,' and the ribbed beefsteak 'Pink Accordion' (p55) and plum tomatoes 'Amish Paste' and 'Roma.'

Amateur Plant Breeders Handbook

This guide is intended for amateur plant breeders, usually members of a plant breeding club, who need a quick reference to terms that they may encounter in the course of conversation or reading. For readers who enjoy browsing, the guide should also be a source of information for anyone wanting to get away from the modern prejudices that favour single-genes, genetic engineering, and crop protection chemicals. It is also a guide for organic farmers, and for those interested in sustainable agriculture, pure food, and a healthy lifestyle.

Approaching Prospective Customers

Backyard Hydroponics

Once you have established contact, here's the most important part of your business presentation If at all possible, open your package right there in front of them, and get them to sample the superior fresh scent and taste of your products If you can only do one thing, get them to taste your product. That is the single most important factor that will determine your success as a grower. Of course, since your produce has been grown in a clean, efficient hydroponic system, they will be infused with more flavor than your field grown competitors. The produce buyer will most likely immediately recognize the difference in your premium quality product from the scent, texture and deep, intense taste. Remember, good products that keep their customers happily coming back for more will keep them ordering After you have established the desire to carry your products, your goal with this first account is to get them to agree to showcase your herbs in their market. If they are unwilling to make an...

Organic greenhouse production

Organic production in Denmark has evolved during the last decades. The number of organic farms has increased from 400 in 1989 to 3500 in 2003 (Danish Plant Directorate, 2003). However, the organic greenhouse production has not followed the same steep increase. The greenhouse vegetable production covers only 6.2 ha (Danish Plant Directorate, 2003) corresponding to less than 5 of total greenhouse vegetable production, and production of ornamentals and herbs are almost non-existing. One of the major obstacles towards organic greenhouse production is controlling the fertilisation in order to obtain sufficient nutrition without risking high leaching losses. When growing plants in closed containers the nutrition is even more important since suitable supplementary organic fertilisers are scarce. In addition, structure and stability of the substrate influence plant growth. Thus, in order to develop organic greenhouse production more focus on nutrition and structure of growing systems is...

Choosing Cultivars

Adams No. 1 and Adams No. 2 are two old cultivars introduced by the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in 1926. They are strong, vigorous, productive, and hardy in areas up to Zone 4, and they bear large fruit clusters. They also ripen late, with fruit maturing in early September. Other cultivars with large clusters and berries include York, Johns, Kent, Nova, and Scotia. York is somewhat more productive than the Adams series, and the berries tend to be larger.

Horticultural Professions

Colorado State University Flower Garden

A degree in horticulture can provide additional opportunities. Horticulture degrees are offered at land-grant colleges (Figure 8.1). Every state has a land-grant college and they are usually part of large state universities. Land-grant colleges were started in the late 1800s by a congressional act sponsored by Justin Morrill from Vermont, as public institutions to teach agriculture. You can find the land-grant college campus locations online at the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges Web site listed in the Further Reading section.

Examples Of Crop Responses To Nutrients

Crop growth of Brussels sprouts has two phases (see Chapter 4) (Abuzeid and Wilcocksen, 1989). In the first phase, biomass increase is mainly by leaf and stem growth, and the second phase is concentrated towards axillary and terminal bud growth. The period of bud growth coincides with increasing leaf senescence. When nitrate reserves in the soil are depleted before the onset of bud growth, its uptake rate is then dependent on nitrogen mineralization from soil organic matter hence the well-established practice of applying large quantities of organic fertilizer (such as farmyard manure) in advance of growing Brussels sprout crops.

Addition of organic matter

Bulky organic matter, such as compost, straw, farmyard manure and peat, is an important means of maintaining organic matter and humus levels. It also 'opens up' the soil, i.e. improves porosity. The main problem is finding cheap enough sources because their bulk makes transport and handling a major part of the cost. They can be evaluated on the basis of their effect on the physical properties of soil and their small, nutrient content.

Red and white currants

They grow in zones , 3-8. A sunny position is best if the berries are to acquire their full flavor. The site should be sheltered but not a frost pocket. Soil preparation Prepare the soil in the fall or late winter by clearing away all weeds. Apply a light dressing of well-rotted manure or compost about 11 2 in thick over the whole area. If farmyard manure or compost are not available, apply a 1 in layer of damp peat. If the ground is fairly clean, single dig the dressing in but if weedy, double dig the area. Rake in a balanced fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, at the rate of 2 oz per square yard and sulfate of potash at 1 2 oz peryard. Selection of plants Buy plants from a reliable source because certified stock is not available. One- or two-year-old bushes are usually supplied by the grower. Select a plant with a clear stem, or leg, of about 4-6 in with a head of about 3-6 evenly balanced shoots. The single (or multiple) cordon may be two or three years old and...

NJL Soil Management Attra National Organic Program Regulations

A Publication of ATTRA, the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service 1-800-346-9140 ATTRA is the national sustainable agriculture information service operated by the National Center for Appropriate Technology, through a grant from the Rural Business-Cooperative Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. These organizations do not recommend or endorse products, companies, or individuals. NCAT has offices in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Butte,Montana, and Davis, California. NCAT The National Organic Program Rule, 205.203, Soil Fertility and Crop Nutrient Management Practice Standard, does not define specific land practices that producers must use. But it does identify general soil management and environmental protection objectives. From these objectives, producers and the organic certifiers they work with must determine whether specific farming practices meet the NOP criteria. This publication provides management guidelines for meeting, and measurable parameters...

Limited Availability Of Herbicides For Brassica Crops

In the USA, a collaborative project was established in 1963, known as the IR-4 Project (Inter-regional Research Project Number Four). Collaboration has been established between state agricultural research stations, the US Department of Agriculture-Cooperative States Research Service (USDA-CSRS), chemical manufacturers and growers organizations to identify and register herbicides for use with speciality crops such as the brassicas (Hopen, 1995 Baron et al., 2002). This initiative was driven by the lack of suitable chemicals being placed on the market by the chemical industry for these small area crops. The project (IR-4), with headquarters at Rutgers University, New Jersey, aimed to assist in gaining registration and label recommendations of agrochemicals for use on highly intensive vegetable crops (Baron et al., 2004). Labels are of national, regional, state need and state emergency categories. The programme succeeded in expanding the availability of herbicides for Brassica crops. In...

Harvesting and postharvest

Peter Milthorpe is Senior Research Agronomist NSW Agriculture, at the Agricultural Research and Advisory Station, Condobolin NSW (see Key contacts for address). Over the past 25 years he has carried out extensive research into many aspects of jojoba. Varietal selection and pollination requirements have been his main areas of research followed by the development of sound management strategies. In 1993 he commenced growing jojoba on the family farm.

Masanobu Fukuoka of Japan

Over 40 years, he observed the Japanese nation abandoning their traditional farming methods and following the American model, both economic and industrial. For people who wonder why they have chosen an ideology of self sufficiency, it is encouraging to read the experiences of someone who has already trodden this arduous path. Masanobu offers words of reason that are simple and uncomplicated. He has also written many other books 011 natural farming.

How Tosell

But don't think the local farm is making a bundle. It's difficult to raise crops and clear a profit. Most small farmers have to depend on several other sources of income to make ends meet. If they sell only what they raise, they can offer only a limited selection. Some stands expand, buying whatever they can't raise at wholesale so they can offer more variety. You've probably seen a small farm stand constantly expand over the years until it becomes a mini-shopping center, selling produce, cheese, baked goods, plants some even have a butcher shop.


Organic farmers ban the use of artificial fertilisers on the grounds that they are synthetic chemicals but, in the long view, this has to be a mistake. Humanity as a whole cannot feed itself without artificial fertilisers and, so long as organic farmers forbid them, the total organic farming will be restricted by the supply of organic manures, which are very limited.


The artificial production of chemical compounds. The definition of organic farming is that it uses no synthetic chemicals. That is, it uses no artificial fertilisers, no synthetic herbicides, no synthetic insecticides, and no synthetic fungicides. However, it may use natural chemicals, such as rock phosphate, natural pyrethrins, etc.

Organic Gardening

The maintenance of the fertility of the soil is the first condition of any permanent system of agriculture. Sir Albert Howard (1873 -1947) Sir Albert was the man who started the organic farming and gardening revolution. His book 'An Agricultural Testament', published in 1943, by Oxford University Press in New York and London was the result of twenty-five years of research Although he was not the earliest critic of modern agriculture, he was the first popular champion of practical organic alternatives. His most biting criticism was directed against 'fragmentation' the unnatural separation between the soil, crops, livestock, and humans.

Seedling Screening

In the early breeding cycles, there is a grave risk that the blight and beetles will destroy every single plant. The damage will be comparable to the destruction caused by blight, when it first appeared in Ireland. This is obviously a critical stage, and the relatively few survivors must be rescued in good timer. They should be transplanted into pots, and taken to a greenhouse where they can be nursed back to health. It may also be necessary to use crop protection chemicals, both in the field and the greenhouse, in order to save the few survivors. This is a point that should be noted by breeders working on an organic farm, who may prefer to conduct their early breeding cycles on rented land in a

Organic Produce

The organic approach requires more planning and can be more labor-intensive than the conventional approach however, organic produce can be sold in the market for more money than conventional produce. Increased consumer demand for pesticide-free produce has resulted in a rise in the number of organic farms and increased the distribution from local farmers markets to organic produce sections in large supermarket chains. In October 2002, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) adopted a set of regulations for the national certification of organic farms. Prior to this, certification was granted on a state-by-state or regional basis only. These regulations prohibit the sale of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) under the organic label but do allow for the chemical- and radiation-induced mutations used for plant breeding purposes. Additionally, the use of chemical fertilizers is prohibited and the use of organic pesticides is tightly regulated.

OnSite Screening

On-site screening means that the screening is conducted in the agro-ecosystem of future cultivation, in the time of year of future cultivation, and according to the farming system of future cultivation. This is important because the epidemiological competence of parasites varies considerably from one agro-ecosystem to another. A cultivar with horizontal resistances that are in perfect balance with one agro-ecosystem will then have too much resistance to some parasites, and too little to others, when taken to a different agro-ecosystem, or when cultivated out of season, or when cultivated with different cultivation practices.


Acknowledgements Salaries and research support were provided by the United Soybean Board and by State and Federal funds appropriated to The Ohio State University Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OSU OARDC). Mention of proprietary products does not constitute a guarantee or warranty of the product by OSU OARDC and also does not imply approval to the exclusion of other products that may also be suitable.


The second way to deal with human excrement is to apply it raw to agricultural land. This is popular in Asia where night soil, or raw human excrement, is applied to fields. Although this keeps the soil enriched, it also acts as a vector, or route of transmission, for disease organisms. In the words of Dr. J. W. Scharff, former chief health officer in Singapore, Though the vegetables thrive, the practice of putting human manure directly on the soil is dangerous to health. The heavy toll of sickness and death from various enteric diseases in China is well-known. It is interesting to note Dr. Scharff's suggested alternative to the use of raw night soil We have been inclined to regard the installation of a water-carried system as one of the final aims of civilization. 1 The World Health Organization also discourages the use of night soil Night soil is sometimes used as a fertilizer, in which case it presents great hazards by

Tree Fruits

Today, New York is the nation's second-leading apple producer. The Northeast also produces significant quantities of sweet and tart cherries, peaches, pears, plums, nectarines, and apricots. The New York State Agricultural Experiment Station at Geneva, New York, maintains one of the world's foremost tree fruit breeding programs and a collection of apple germplasm from around the world.


Greaser. 2001. Highbush Blueberry Production. Agricultural Alternatives. Pennsylvania State University College of Agricultural Sciences. *Demchak, K., J.K. Harper, and G.L. Greaser. 2001. Highbush Blueberry Production. Agricultural Alternatives. Pennsylvania State Univeristy College of Agricultural Sciences.

Seed Certification

They also check the trueness and purity of variety. The second kind of certification concerns freedom from synthetic chemicals in seed tubers for organic farmers. In many countries it is becoming possible to have a double certification covering both aspects of the guarantee.

Soilborne parasites

This is an excellent crop for amateur breeders working with horizontal resistance, particularly as even small increases in the levels of quantitative resistance will greatly assist organic farmers. There is a more detailed account in Return to Resistance, available as a sharebook at this website (<> ).

Sil preparation

The preparation ot the border soil is much the same tor almost all food Crops. It is important to appreciate that the border isa comparatively small area that is being intensively cultivated, so thorough preparation is essential, I > ig the soil one spit deep (the depth ot' the blade of the spade). Il the subsoil is compacted and therefore likely to impede drainage, break it up by forking, taking care not to bring subsoil to the surface, for roots go down a long way. Jig plenty of bulky organic matter such as rotted farmyard manure, compost, or peat into the topsoil, It the soii is very poor you should seriously consider replacing it. or working in John limes potting compost, or even growing your crops in containers. The majority ot plants do not like very acid soils and it may he necessary to add lime. The acidity alkalinity level can be checked with an inexpensive soil pH testing kit the optimum level tor most greenhouse crops (including flowering plants) is slightly acid, a >...

The Art Of Raking

On my narrow no-dig beds I can get away without any preliminary digging but for good results on compacted ground you will need to fork over the area first. Then you can set to with your rake. Working backwards (so as not to tread on the area you've just prepared) raking involves pushing and pulling the tines through the surface layer, loosening the soil and breaking it down into smaller and smaller particles, while drawing all remaining chunks towards you. These can then be repeatedly set upon with the rake using both the tines and the back of the rake to bash them into progressively smaller lumps. As you continue this process you will accumulate a growing pile of stones, weeds and other assorted bits that are resistant to further fragmentation - if you have added farmyard manure to the bed in the last year or two you'll know what I mean. You can then shovel this pile up and deposit it where lumpy does not matter. Your objective is a smooth, level surface made of uniformly fine soil...

Become a Locavore

Many small farms are organic those that aren't usually use ecologically sound practices. Ask the farmers, and they'll be happy to tell you about their farming philosophy and techniques. For products that can't be grown locally, such as coffee and chocolate, look for organic options. Also, some companies sell products described as fair trade or sustainably grown that benefit both the environment and family farmers in their native countries.

Artichoke Jerusalem

The term 'fertilisation' has two meanings in agriculture. It can mean sexual fertilisation of either plants or animals, or it can mean manuring of crops. Fertilisers used for manure are divided into the two categories of organic and artificial. Organic manures are either the excrement of farm animals, usually known as farmyard manure (F.Y.M.) or stable dung, bone meal, or quarried deposits of fish-eating bird excrement, known as guano. Artificial fertilisers are produced in factories, usually by a simple modification of natural products, such as atmospheric nitrogen, rock phosphate, or potash. Their constituents are known as N, P, and K, the symbols standing for nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Other constituents may include calcium and magnesium, as well as various minor nutrients and trace elements. Artificial fertilisers are allowed in sustainable agriculture, but not in organic farming. Artificial selection


Maize (Central and South America), and rice (Southeast Asia). Agriculture consists of the propagation and nurturing of domesticated animals and plants. The cultivation of crop plants is now divided into agricultural and horticultural crops. The latter involve a wide array of fruit and vegetables and offer great scope for amateur breeders. Commercial agriculture is undertaken for financial gain, while subsistence agriculture, mainly in the tropics, is undertaken to feed the farmer and his family, possibly with the sale of some subsistence surpluses. Most subsistence crops also offer great scope for amateur breeders. Forestry involves the cultivation of trees for timber and it too offers scope for amateur breeders. Agrobacterium

Master Charts

The Master Charts that follow should help your gardening efforts. The charts for grains, compost crops, trees, and other crops provide a picture of what you can accomplish in your own backyard or small farm-holding. (Also see Ecology Action's Backyard Homestead, Mini-Farm and Garden Log Book.) Additional information about special seed sources and harvesting, cleaning, grinding, storing, and preserving these crops will be included in the future. The charts are largely based on our many years of experience and are generally complete and accurate. At the turn of the century, farsighted agricultural experiment stations set up permanent cultivation plots and monitored for decades the nitrogen and carbon balances. Stirring soil and removing crops initiated profound declines in nitrogen, carbon, and humus substances and caused deterioration of soil structure. Under these circumstances water infiltration is reduced and runoff and sheet erosion are encouraged. Crop yields suffer. While...

Industry overview

Potted Herbs For Sale

According to a West Coast organic wholesale produce vendor, the organic herbs coming through the Seattle Produce Terminal are from two sources Herbco, a 45-acre certified organic farm in Washington state, and Jacobs Farm, a 300-acre certified organic farm in Pescadero, California. Jacobs Farm also sells for the 250-member Del Cabo Cooperative growing certified organic basil year-round in Mexico (Baja Sur).

Organic Mulches

Bandini Fertilizer

Over the past several years, agricultural experiment stations and manufacturers have conducted extensive research on the use of plastic (polyethylene) film, aluminum foils, brown asphalt paper, and a whole series of woven and perforated plastic films that allow penetration of air and water. Plastic mulch is excellent for crops that have trailing plants with fruit on the

Plant Collectors

Agronomy A branch of agricultural science that concentrates on cereal grains and crops to feed domesticated animals. Horticulture A branch of agricultural science that focuses on plants grown in a garden, with specialties in olericulture, pomology, floriculture, and landscape plants. Land-grant colleges State-run public institutions that teach agriculture, initiated in the late 1800s through a congressional act that granted federal land to each state, which was sold to fund the establishment of the colleges. Smith, Miranda and the Northeast Organic Farming Association and Cooperative Extension. The Real Dirt Farmers Tell About Organic and Low Input Practices in the Northeast. Burlington, Vt. Northeast Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE), 1994.

Greenhouse Crops

Greenhouse Controlled Environment

Hydroponic and ebb and flow methods can be modified to meet many of the requirements for organic or sustainable certification and they are less degrading to the environment than conventional agriculture in the field. However, not all greenhouses are pesticide free. Insect infestations in the greenhouse may be more difficult to deal with than outdoors in the field because predatory insects and other creatures that normally consume these pest insects cannot get in to feed.

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