ON ANY SOIL ANALYSIS THE ACTUAL POUNDS OF EACH NUTRIENT AVAILABLE ARE NOT NEARLY AS VITAL AS THE PROPER BALANCE BETWEEN EACH OTHER. YOU MUST WATCH THEIR BALANCE TO CALCIUM. HIGH LEVELS OF A NUTRIENT MEAN NOTHING TO A CROP FIGHTING AGAINST A WAR OF IMBALANCE. YOUR SOIL MAY HAVE A PERFECT pH FOR MOST COMMON CROPS (6.2-6.8) AND CATION BALANCE CAN BE DESTROYED BY SALT AND ACIDS.
INTERCROPPING WITH SUNFLOWERS FOR BENEFICIAL INSECTS
(by Jones & Gilbert Florida Entomologist ‘88)
1. Diversity and abundance of beneficial insects increased in crop vegetation directly adjacent to sunflower rows.
2. Sunflowers indeed attract and play host to numerous beneficial insects.
3. They attract PREDACEOUS 1) almost immediately after establishment when plants reached a height of 6”.
4. PARASITOIDS 2) and POLLINATORS 3) were attracted as soon as these plants began to produce flowers.
5. Some of the same beneficial insects were found also to occur on crop vegetation but in significantly lower numbers.
6. By providing PREDATOR 4) REFUGE within the cropping system via strip crops or uncultivated corridors can result in the migration of PREDATORY INSECTS 5) into adjacent crops.
1. PREDACEOUS = Predatory, preys on other animals.
2. PARASITOIDS = One who eats or lives upon others.
3. POLLINATORS = Insects carrying pollen.
4. PREDATOR REFUGE = A safe haven to live.
5. PREDITORY INSECTS = Insects which prey on others.
6. ARTHROPOD = Any member of a large group of invertebrate animals with jointed legs and a segmented body: they include crustaceans, arachnids, insects, myriapods.
SUNFLOWERS PLANTED WITHIN 1’ – 30’ OF CROP VEGETATION
Will Draw Beneficial Insects Including Arthropod 6) Predators,
Parasitic Wasps & Pollinators
BEST SOD-BUILDING METHOD…
Plant 15#s Annual Rye grass mixed with 10#s Medium Red Clover per acre from Mid-September thru early October. The rye will germinate within 4-10 days depending on weather conditions. In the spring the rye will act as a nurse crop supplying shelter for the clover: e.g.:
1. Mow or harvest in mid-spring and mid-summer when the clover shows (here and there) some brown heads. For harvesting this will make GREAT compost when mixed with horse manure.
2. In early September it is decision time - do we plow under the rye/clover, or do we let the clover take over and turn it under the following year?
3. REMEMBER that the summer cutting from the rye/clover mix can be mixed into an on farm compost pile mixed with horse manure – building a rich compost to spread on the fields.
4. If you should decide to turn the rye/clover under this September you will be adding lots of Organic Matter (OM) from the roots, thatch and top crops into the soil – a very HEALTH move. This would also be the time to plant Annual Rye again – all by itself. This will be turned under in April; it will be followed by a planting of Spring Oats and then (if possible) 2 successive crops of Buckwheat during warm weather BEFORE field preparation of a Winter Wheat Crop.
If one or two years of sod followed by two to four quick green manure crops seem to be a lot of work and expense, THINK how it will produce a more BOUNTIFUL CASH CROP.
a) this program becomes twofold: 1st] it builds great soil that’s richer after we harvest then it was BEFORE we decided to plant 2 years earlier; 2nd] legumes are ideal as green manure crops BECAUSE they fix FREE ATMOSPHERIC NITROGEN into the soil and store it for a long period of time.
b) clover serves growers BEST when allowed to grow for 2 full years or more.
Green manures are useful indicators that serve as windows allowing farmers and home owners to see potential problems and head them off. POOR growth of the green manure crop will indicate the POOR growth of the cash crop that will follow is another reason to start a field preparation program 1-2 years earlier. THINK about the following:
1. Cash crops require through planning and advance preparation,
2. Healthy soil development prior to cash crop planting,
3. Site selection – moisture drainage, breaking up insect development cycles,
4. Annual and perennial weed control.
5. Sub-soiling to breakup hardpan and allow for better drainage.
6. WELL drained soils are required by most cash crops.
1. Soil, water and air supply the chemical elements needed for plant growth. Plants need three (3) soil-derived nutrient elements in large amounts. Nitrogen (N); Phosphorus (P); & Potassium (K) are those 3 elements.
2. Other soil-supplied nutrients are essential to plant growth and development: Boron, Calcium, Chlorine, Cobalt, Copper, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Sulfur and Zinc. These elements are needed in SMALL amounts that are often available in the soil.
Organic farmers with healthy soils rich in humus use good crop rotation and regular green manures DO NOT need large amounts of fertilizer.
TAKES PLACE WELL IN ADVANCE OF PLANTING Be sure to take a soil sample on an annual basis – so you can see what nutrient levels are and to be sure the pH is correct for the cash crop you are going to raise. Most cash crops probably evolve from poor soil, BUT those soils won’t produce large, clean beautiful healthy crops. Healthy crops only come from a moderately to rich fertile garden type soil.
Green manure crops, good crop rotation, proper nutrients balance will HELP you build your soil into a fine garden type soil. Any process that incorporates lush, green plant matter into soil is going to ADD nutrients and provide the raw materials necessary either to sustain or initiate a healthy population of microorganisms. Young growth quickly decomposes, adding nutrients, while older plants resist decay and thus contribute to the HUMUS of the soil.
Soil preparation for any cash crop should be a MINIMUM of ONE-YEAR BEFORE PLANTING. TWO YEARS WOULD BE BETTER. Plant land to grass or grass/legume OR grain/legume – 1 to 2 years BEFORE YOU PLAN TO PLANT YOUR CASH CROP. Green manures should be planted in the fall.
As you know, fall is quickly approaching and the time will soon be upon us for applying fall & winter nutrients, green manures and fall crops. It’s that time of year when it’s important to start preparing your soil ahead of next year’s cash crop: e.g.: lawn, flower beds, gardens, or as a commercial farmer. Of course a soil analysis is vital to tell you if your soil needs any nutrients.
I’m going to ask you to stay away from GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS (GMO’s), GENETICALLY ENGINEERED (GE) & GENETICALLY MODIFIED (GM) PRODUCTS. They can come in your seeds, or plants grown in this type of environment as well as fertilizers, dry or liquid. We do not carry any of those products; all our fruit and vegetables are CHEMICAL FREE and NATURALLY GROWN, we are a Mother Nature Farmer.
What is important to us is this; that you are satisfied with our fertilizers, green manure seeds, crop seeds, fruit and vegetables that we grow and our service. We will only sell you what you need; need only a pound of Phosphorus (P), than that’s what we’ll sell you, however, in case you need a ton of Phosphorus, we’ll sell you that also.
Regardless of what crop you grow, there are '7 Basic Practices' that will help you to go in the right direction for higher yields and profits.
1) Know your Soil and your Water-have them analyzed annually.
a) Do Not Use Chlorinated water or Sodium filtered water.
b) What water should I use? If you can filter out the Chlorine and the Sodium from the water, OK.
If not, don't use it, it takes less than 2 parts per million of Chlorine, to kill bacteria, the very thing you're trying to build in the soil.
c) Instead use well, pond, or captured rain water form down spouts. Or let Mother Nature do it for you.
2) Match your crop to your soil.
3) Choose quality seed and plants.
4) Choose disease resistant plants and seeds.
5) Use good Biological Soil Life Practices.
a) A Beneficial Insect habitat is very important around and between the crops.
6) Beware of Family Companion Crop Rotation Plantings; it is just as important-IF NOT MORE SO-to help suppress insect and disease control.
7) A 1-5 year (5 being best) Program of Crop Rotations, Cover Crops and Green Manures for soil building, protecting beneficial insects and disease control is vital.
a) A Red Clover, that is inoculated, can produce 75-125 lbs. of FREE Nitrogen (N) per year when left in the ground for more than a year.
b) One last PLUS, captured, mowed clover mixed into a compost pile will help make great compost.
As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us via our blog or e-mail.
Vince Colandrea Sr.
Japanese Beetles like so many other pesky insects can be controlled by Natural means without the use of Harsh Chemicals, BUT by letting Mother Nature take care of Mother Nature. The following example will DETER Japanese Beetles: Animal & Bird Predators; Beneficial Nematodes; & Predatory Insects.
1. CATNIP - Can be planted by Flowers & Veggie Crops in Pots; It will DETER Aphids, Squash Bug, Flea Beetles & Japanese Beetles.
2. CHIVES - Chives improves flavor & growth when planted in Pots near Tomatoes, Carrots, Apples, Berries, Grapes & Roses; KEEP AWAY FROM Peas & Beans; DETERS Aphids & Japanese Beetles.
3. GARLIC - Planted near Tomatoes, Cane Fruit, Fruit Trees, Roses & Cabbage; KEEP AWAY FROM Peas & Beans; DETERS Aphids, Cabbage Maggot & Blight & Japanese Beetles.
4. TANSY - Can be planted by Flowers & Veggie Crops; DETERS Ants, Aphids, Squash Bug, Stripped Cucumber Beetle, Japanese Beetle PLUS many flying insects.
5. MARIGOLD - IT MST BE THE "FRENCH CULTIVAR" TO BE EFFECTIVE FOR KILLING THE JAPANESE BEETLE GRUB.
OK You've purchased your tomato plants from your favorite nursery, your planting bed is made, you've worked into the soil your Growth Enhancers which are; Crab Shells; Kelp Meal; Alfalfa Meal & Humate along with some Hi-Cal. Lime for additional Calcium, which tomatoes & peppers need to ward off End-Rot.
Now, very carefully remove all lower leaves, lay half your plant in the soil & bend your plant so that HALF of the stalk is on the bottom of your furrow. NOW place your soil back around the plant and water-in. Keep in mind that ONLY half the plant will be buried with NO LEAVES. ALL THE FUZZY HAIRS ON THE BURIED PORTION OF THE PLANT WILL TURN INTO A LARGER ROOTING SYSTEM.
What does this do? In return for your effort, your plants will produce more fruit.
Watering your plants during the gardening season may be a necessity. It is important to know what is in your water. City water especially can hold chlorine. Many folks do not realize the damage that chlorinated water may cause. Chlorine and Sodium are okay for swimming pools or for your home but not okay for your lawn or garden. It takes less than 2 parts per million of chlorinated water to kill all biological soil life, and it is this life that we are trying to build up as organic gardeners! Without healthy soil we don't achieve healthy crops.
What can I do to water my ground if I have treated water?
Try catching rain water, this can be easily achieved by placing a barrel under a downspout.
If this is not feasible place a filter on an outside water faucet that will filter out chlorine and sodium.