Crop Diversity: A Distinctive Characteristic of an Organic Farming Method
|By: organicfarmingblog, 1:00 PM GMT on April 15, 2013||+0|
Presently, organic farming has been a trending method among individuals today in upholding and preserving the natural resources and the environment. It contains different methods that are performed based on the natural processes that happened in the surroundings. One of these methods is crop diversity. Crop diversity is the use of different variety of plants used in agriculture. This method of organic gardening utilizes food crops that may differ in branching pattern, seed size, height, or fruiting season. Promoting a variation in planting different crops on the same land may promote good harvest in the future using only the normal process of biodiversity.
How Crop Diversity Works
Crop diversity as a method of organic farming may result from a diverse growing conditions. For instance, a crop that grows in a soil with poor nutrients is likely to be shorter than the crop thriving in a fertile soil. On the other hand, the diversity of each harvested plant in the same area may provide genetic differences, which can be passed on from one generation to another. Eventually, combining genes in different traits in combination, organic farmers will certainly develop new crop varieties in order to meet certain conditions. For instance, planting new varieties of crops in a same land may promote higher yielding and longer shelf life than of the same crop species that are propagated in the same area for a long time.
The use of crop diversity as an effective method of organic farming was adapted to the original agricultural methods of crop rotation, wherein one crop specie is being planted on a certain piece of land in a year, and followed by another crop on the same land. However, farmers and scientists should continue to provide resources on genetic diversity in order to maintain productive harvests and prevent food crops from diseases and pests.
The Benefits of Crop Diversity
One of the most critical environmental concerns today is the loss of biodiversity. According to estimates done by a number of legitimate studies worldwide, almost half of all species worldwide are facing extinction, and most of these species are relatives of food crop like wheat, rice, maize, beans, peas, potato, eggplant, tomato, pepper, and among others.
With wise use of organic gardening methods like crop diversity, these species will be protected, as well as their thriving environment. The propagation of varieties of crops in a certain land may promote resistance to diseases and pests, thus lowering the need of pesticide application. It is known that pesticides contain harmful chemicals that can provide hazard to the environment. Lastly, crop diversity as an organic farming method prevents deforestation and clearing out of fragile lands in creating more lands for production of food supply.
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How to Have the Right Compost Pile?
|By: organicfarmingblog, 12:30 PM GMT on April 12, 2013||+0|
It has been repeatedly said that having a compost pile in an organic farm is the best way to have a fruitful and useful soil. But a lot of farmers don’t know how to make a compost pile. F they do, sometimes, they do it in the wrong way. As a result, the plants are not that healthy as expected.
Here are some tips and advices on how to make the right compost pile. First, you have to learn the things you need in creating one.
The Things You Need
- You need “brown” materials rich in Carbon such as straw, fall leaves, shredded newspaper and dead flowers.
- You should also get some “green” materials which are rich in Nitrogen. These include plant-based kitchen waste, grass clippings and barnyard animal manure.
- Your site should be at least 3-ft long and should be 3-ft wide.
- You should also prepare a shovelful soil.
Things to Do
- You should start by spreading out a layer which has many inches of dry brown stuff such as leaves, cornstalk and straw.
- You should place over those brown materials some inches of green stuff.
- After that, you sould add a thin layer of soil.
- After the soil layer, you should put up a level for brown stuff.
- When you are done with the above steps, you should wet the 3 layers.
- The above steps should compose your pile. But you should continue placing green and brown stuff until the pile is 3-ft tall.
- After certain weeks, you should go back to your compost pile and turn it with the help of farm shovel or fork. Move the stuff at the center of the compost pile to the outside.
- Just remember to keep the pile wet and not soggy.
- Now, when youa re done with the process and you have enough to use in your farm, you should shovel out the finished pile and begin the next compost with any material that had not decomposed in the last pile.
- Always remember that you should have at least 3 x 3 x 3 feet. This size will have sufficient mass.
- You can purchase or construct compost bins. One reason why many farmers recommend this is that because they keep the compost pile neat. In some cases, the bins can make turning compost a lot easier. They also protect the pile from rain that can soak the soil.
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Top 5 Ways of Constructing Compost Pile Faster
|By: organicfarmingblog, 12:30 PM GMT on April 10, 2013||+1|
How do you make a compost pile in the quickest way? Well, you’re reading the right article because this will give you 5 simple ways to compost in just 30 days—the fastest way in organic farming.
Shredding and Chopping
You should probably read ad know about the materials you should include inmaking a compost pile. But one thing you should remember is that you should shred nd chop the matrials as finely as possible. They should be shredded and chopped correctly before you mix them into the compost pile.
One thing you can do is maximize the tools you have in your organic farm. For instance, you can use your lawn mower in orden to chop finely the fallen leaves.
But whatever is your strategy, always remember the principle: the smaller, the better—this is the ultimate rule when constructing a pile.
Do the Right Mixture
There are a lot of mixtures in making a compost pile. You probably read about some of them. But one thing you should never forget is mixing up dry browns and wet greens. One is rich in carbon, the other rich in nitrogen—two most important ingredients of a compost pile.
Dry browns are the ones rich in carbon. These include straw, hay and leaves. On the other hand, wet greens are the ones rich in nitrogen. These include grass clippings and kitchen scraps.
You ultimate goal in this second step is to maintain a fine and fair mixture of the above mentioned materials.
The size of a compost pile is very important. The xommon and usual size is 3 by 3 by 3 feet. In this size, the pile will surely heat up easily and decompose fastly.
To maximize this size, the temperature should be right. In order to get the right temperature, make sure that the middle is hot. This is a sign that the microbial decomposers are working correctly.
Water is Important
You should keep the pile moisted. In order to do that, you should sprinkle water every once in a while. However, you should prevent the soil from becoming too wet. Thus, you should put cover over the pile when you have a wet climate.
Move Things Constantly
Always move your compost.In this way, you will add air to the mixture. Use a pitchfork in order to open up air holes.
These five steps will help you make a compost pile as quick as possible.
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Top 7 Farming Tools
|By: organicfarmingblog, 12:30 PM GMT on April 09, 2013||+0|
In organic farming, the soil is one of the most important consideration. Since everything is natural and artificial things have no room in organic farming, farmers are obliged to learn the natural ways of growing crops.
The number one consideration when you are naturally growing plants is the soil. if the soil is healthy, eventually, your plants will be bountiful. One way of taking care of the soil is the farming tools. You must pick the right tools in order to nurture a great land to plant. Here the top 7 tools which you can use in order to make your soil as magnificent as ever.
Some farmers call this brilliant farming tool U-bar digger, well it is because the 5 tines, 10 inches each, are attached to a bar which is U-shaped. What’s fascinating about this tool is that the tines significantly loosen the soil when you push it into the land and pull it out.
Hoes have many functions. It can be used to prepare and furrow soid. It can also be use to cultivate and eradicate weeds. There are also many choices hen it comes to hoes. There are oscillating hoes, collinear hoes, warren hoes and a lot more.
A pickax is the one you choose when your soil has a lot of rocks or filled of tree roots. In order to pulverize the small rocks and the soil cods, you need to use the pickax with a blade looking like a broad hoe.
There are many types of rakes. There are bamboo leaf rakes, steel rakes, and garden rakes. Each rake has its own utility. Garden rakes are used when you are leveling out the ground or making raised beds. Leaf rakes, on the other hand, are used to spread lightweight mulches or to smooth the soil on top of the seedbed.
Shovel is the farming tool which must always be in your list. It is very ideal for soil care. It is handy for cutting through hard ground, scooping compost, or digging soil from planting holes.
If you are looking for a tool which you can use for digging borders or new beds, spade is the right for you. It is a squared-off blade which you can also use in order to cut through sod a snap.
It’s like a big fork desiged specifically for cutting into the soil. Nonetheless, it can also mix materials into the earth as well as harvest root crops.
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5 Common Compost Problems and Their Solutions
|By: organicfarmingblog, 3:29 PM GMT on April 08, 2013||+0|
In order to have a profitable and fruitful soil, you need to have the right mixture of compost. However, there will always be problems. Here are 5 common problems in your cmpost and ways to fix them.
Problem 1: The Compost is Slimy, Soggy or Wet
Of course, these situations are indeed problems. There are three factors why these things happen: (1) too much oisture, (2) poor aeration, and (3) lack of nitrogen material.
You should prevent some things. First of all, you should not overburden your compost pile with wet materials such as spoiled hay, grass lippings and heaps of unshredded leaves. These materials can make the compost densed so much so that the center of the pile will receive no air. The best way to prevent a wet and soggy compost, you should not leave these materials especially during rainy days.
In order to not worsen the wet situation, you can put a loose-fitting lid and trap over the compost pile.
You can also have some ingredients which are rich in nitrogen like shellfish shells.
Problem 2: The Compost is Dusty and Dry
This is a common problem especially when the farmer lives in the West. From May to October, dry compost is a real pain in the neck. In these situations, your compost will have no enough moisture to encourage bacterial life which is important in order to fuel the composting process.
The solution to this problem is very easy: Water it!
To be specific, you should place an oscillating sprinkler over the dusty and dry compost.
Problem 3: There are Too Many Bugs in the Compost
Bugs are not that harmful to the compost. But if you do not remove them from the mixture before spreading it on the garden, they will probably snip off the emerging roots and leaves.
In order to get rid of bugs, you should level up the temperature o your heap to over 120ºF. After that, you should turn your compost pile over and then reconstruct it. Remember to water it as you do the process.
Problem 4: The Compost has ManyGrowing Plants
Weed is always a problem. The headache is that even in hot days, they are still growing.
If you figure out that the plants sprouting in your compost are weeds, you should pull them out and toss them back into another compost mixture—in this way, you will make a problem very useful.
Problem 5: The Compost Smells So Bad
If it contains too much nitrogen, your compost pile will certainly smell.
There’s no other way to get rid of the smell but to recreate the heap.
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Support Organic Farming and Local Gardeners with Ample Harvest
|By: organicfarmingblog, 12:30 PM GMT on April 03, 2013||+0|
In the AmpleHarvest website www.ampleharvest.org, there is something that I think everyone in America will be interested in finding out. If you look at the website homepage, you will see a tab that says Hunger in America. Now, the global view of America is that on the side of prosperity, abundance, and the likes. This, therefore, became to me a glaring highlight of the website the moment I opened it. Although of course just as in any country, we all know that the poor exist everywhere, even in the most developed and technologically advanced nations. What became really disturbing about the facts presented by AmpleHarvest is that one of the reasons why hunger exists in America are some of the food that is produced in the country is practically thrown away, and here we are talking about hundreds of billions of pounds of food. Why? Because some become unfit to be harvested due to negative effects of bad weather conditions and other external factors among other things.
In light of this bleak picture though, AmpleHarvest provides a simple yet effective and potentially hunger-alleviating solution for not only Americans but anyone who wants sustainable food sources that are safe for consumption and are much easier to manage. I am referring here to local pantries, which is AmpleHarvest jargon for small-scale (in comparison to farming done in national lands set apart for agricultural purposes). These pantries make use of organic farming practices, meaning that the gardeners and farmers who do the work do not make use of potentially harmful chemicals such as insecticides, pesticides, and chemical fertilizers. Everything is done naturally, which is the big charm in organic farming. Every produce is naturally grown and includes nothing that is harmful to the environment as well as harmful to a person’s health.
In AmpleHarvest’s website, they express their desire to involve and include more people in their endeavor either by creating local gardens themselves or by supporting the local gardeners near them. There are plenty of gardeners that have joined the movement all over the United States. One can show support to the movement by being a local gardener. If you already are cultivating your backyard and using it to plant vegetables and the like, you can let AmpleHarvest know so you can get more knowledge on how to become a more effective gardener.
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Go Natural with the Northeast Organic Network
|By: organicfarmingblog, 12:30 PM GMT on April 02, 2013||+0|
Most of us have been used to planting and farming with the use of artificial materials such as chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and insecticides that, although help create an abundant and healthy harvest, are actually a huge threat to nature and our health. And because many people are not aware that there is still, even in the midst of our technologically advanced societies, a much better way to do farming, and that is the way that it used to be. The traditional means of agriculture and farming have recently been put in the spotlight as more and more people are discovering—or remembering—the vast benefits of organic farming, compared to that with the use of synthetic materials.
Aside from government efforts to continue to advance organic farming throughout the country, what is really pushing this pursuit forward are the many non-government organizations that continuously and consistently promote organic farming and educate as many people about the greater effects and the much better results of making use of the natural practices. One of these non-government organizations is the Northeast Organic Network, or NEON, that seeks to support our local farmers and agriculturists all over the country and spread awareness on the best agricultural practices.
Generally, there is a mindset that when we make use of the traditional means of accomplishing things, the results arrive more slowly and are not as good as when we make use of our advanced technology. Although we can still make use of technology in farming and still call the practice of organic farming, the idea that there is little return when the organic or natural way that is adopted is actually wrong. The most commonly looked at and scrutinized aspect is of course that of money—financial gain. The market for produce farmed and cultivated organically has been consistently growing over the years, and there are more and more people who are starting to have their eyes opened to the fact that because of the artificial materials being used in our common farming practices, their health may be put on the line. Also, there are more people who prefer to plant their own vegetables in their backyards, in order to make sure that the harvest is safe and free from chemicals that may harm the body. If you are not able to practice this yourself, you can show your support to local farmers and learn more about organic practices by visiting the NEON website.
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Get Into Organic Farming with IFOAM
|By: organicfarmingblog, 12:00 PM GMT on April 01, 2013||+0|
Many people are getting to know the vast benefits of going au naturale when it comes to farming and agriculture. In fact, not only is the government slowly but surely pressing on to further promote natural practices in food generation, there are plenty of organizations outside the government that are forcefully advancing this cause, for its many benefits and advantages, not only to the people who are directly involved in making it happen, but also for those who choose to put a premium on naturally grown produce than those that involved artificial and potentially dangerous elements such as insecticides and pesticides.
There are many ways by which you can show your support for organic farming. You do not have to actually be one of the country’s local gardeners or producers, but you can still take part in the nation-wide push to create sustainable food sources that are safe for the health and for the environment as well. One of the non-government organizations that seek to promote organic farming and spread awareness on its good benefits and the positive results that it brings is IFOAM, or International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements.
Cooperating with global organizations such as the United Nations, IFOAM is constantly looking for ways to keep improving the current state of agriculture in the country and to ensure that the farmers who work to make the harvest possible have their issues attended to and their best interests are looked into. There are plenty of ways you can show your support for organic agriculture. For one, buy the organic products. This is perhaps one of the easiest ways to show that you are for this kind of practice, and you can share the word about the quality of the products that are made available through it. Not many people know that the things that they buy in the markets are mostly grown with the use of synthetic materials such as chemical fertilizers, and that they are therefore putting their health at risk. You can start educating the people around you. It is never too small a thing when you start with your own circle of influence.
Another thing you can do is donate to organizations that make organic farming possible. There are plenty of different avenues by which you can do this. In fact, IFOAM also provides you with one. You may check their website for more information.
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