Tag Archives: fertilizer

Growers Tell All –Diane Howard

Diane Howard will moderate a farmer panel, Growers Tell All: A Conversation with Experienced South Georgia Growers about God-Given Talents and 150+ Years of Growing, at South Georgia Growing Local 2014:


Innis Davis and three of the children in his family who help with his very large backyard garden on Cherry Street, Valdosta.
With a combined 150+ years of experience as growers, these veggie veterans will interact with members of the audience sharing their stories which include the following: planting, harvesting, and preserving by the moon; rotating crop sites; fertilizing; controlling weeds and insects; saving seed for 50+ years; growing in containers; and using their talents and techniques of growing to help friends and 3 generations of family. Serving as a moderator for this discussion will be Diane Howard who works closely with individuals in South Georgia to promote growing their own food and oversees a large garden on her 5th generation family farm in Grady County.

Here are the panelists’ speaker bios: Continue reading

Weeding and plowing in the garden 2012-03-14

Weeding and plowing:


Gretchen Quarterman, Terry Davis, Lowndes County, Georgia, 14 March 2012.
Pictures by John S. Quarterman for Okra Paradise Farms.

Plowing:

 

Continue reading

More profit and higher yields through organic farming in India

Increase your income and your yields with traditional farming methods? That’s what’s happening in India.

Nishika Patel blogged 11 May 2011 in The Guardian, Organic farming – India’s future perfect?

India’s struggling farmers are starting to profit from a budding interest in organic living. Not only are the incomes of organic farmers soaring – by 30% to 200%, according to organic experts – but their yields are rising as the pesticide-poisoned land is repaired through natural farming methods.
How did this happen?
Organic farming only took off in the country about seven years ago. Farmers are turning back to traditional farming methods for a number of reasons.

First, there’s a 10% to 20% premium

Continue reading

Indian Cost of Pesticides and Fertilizers

Akash Kapur writes in the New York Times about something rotten in the state of India:
By the late ’80s, the chemicals had started taking a toll. Mr. Govindan’s land dried up. Yields declined. Mr. Govindan said the quality of his crops did, too. In the old days, he told me, if you cooked too much rice for dinner you could keep it overnight and eat it the next day for breakfast. Now, rice from the fields around Molasur turned rotten overnight.

Other things had changed: labor was more expensive, the price of fertilizers and seeds had increased, and the overall cost of living had outstripped the rise in crop prices.

How bad is it?
The scientist M.S. Swaminathan, often referred to as the father of India’s green revolution, has spoken of a “disaster” in Indian agriculture. The sociologist Dipankar Gupta has written of “hollowed” villages.

According to a recent report in The Hindu newspaper, almost 200,000 farmers committed suicide between 1997 and 2009 — a national tragedy (although it is rarely treated as such) brought on by rising debt and the resulting economic and existential despair.

So is the Indian government being realistic about the problem?
Mr. Govindan wondered about something else, too. Farming had always seemed a special profession to him, with a vital, even noble, role in feeding the nation. He wondered why the country didn’t see it that way anymore. Just the previous night, he had watched Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on television, assuring the nation that it wouldn’t face food shortages. Mr. Govindan felt something didn’t add up. He pointed to the barren fields; he said you couldn’t even grow peanuts on them anymore. “I don’t understand,” he said, “Where is all the food supposed to come from?”
Well, if India follows the U.S. model, the food will come from a tiny number of agrobusinesses that will end up owning most of the land.

Biochar for CO2 Sequestration and Diesel Fuel

A homegrown Georgia company, Eprida, is developing biochar for carbon sequestration and maybe diesel fuel:
The Eprida process simultaneously creates value in three markets in this order at today’s prices:
  1. Energy: gas-to-liquids diesel, from biomass
  2. Fertilizer: agricultural soil restoration, carbon enriched with nitrogen
  3. Carbon Credits: once an agricultural CDM is completed
Unlike other biomass gasification, the Eprida process can operate at small scale, converting waste biomass into fuel and fertilizer. The diesel produced will ultimately be more valuable than ethanol or methanol, and the Eprida process can convert woody plant materials that cannot be cost effectively fermented. Also, unlike virtually all other approaches for biomass to energy, which deplete soil nutrients, the Eprida process restores and enhances soil mineral, carbon and nitrogen content. As a direct result of this new approach to integrated energy and fertilizer production from biomass, the Eprida process effectively removes net CO2 from the atmosphere, and can do so profitably before the value of any carbon credits are even considered.
I especially like the small scale aspect. Individuals could do this.

(And if, like me, you wondered how to pronounce biochar, the ch is like in charcoal.)

Or municipalities like Valdosta or Lowndes County could do this, instead of the current plans for a conventional biomass power plant that looks like it will release more CO2 per kilowatt than a coal plant. Why not go with a homegrown technology that’s cleaner and may also produce diesel as a side effect?

Radical Food Rethink for Britain?

According to Peter Griffiths in Scientific American, 10 August 2009, Britain wants “radical rethink” on food production:
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain must find ways to grow more food while using less water, energy and fertilizers to help feed a growing world population and offset the effects of climate change on agriculture, the government said on Monday.
OK, that makes sense. But where’s the radical part?
Farmers will have to adopt new methods to grow bigger crops while being more careful with increasingly valuable commodities such as water and fuel for machinery and fertilizers, Benn said.
OK, less water, fuel, and petrochemical fertilizers; good. But why a few farmers growing bigger crops? As The Institute for Optimum Nutrition points out,
Good food seems to have been erased from our cultural identity, yet Britain was once considered the gastronomic centre of the world.
I would bet Britain didn’t do that by cranking out bigger crops.

How about more small farmers, as well, plus urban gardens?