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Archive | Disease

Top of a scarlet turnip in the ground

Planting By the Moon

The practice of growing food and raising livestock is a calling that urges us to become stronger and hardier. The variables present in natural systems can be overwhelming, and it is only those who are willing to face hard truths and adapt that can truly turn it into a lifestyle. From the outside, the natural […]

Front cover image of the book Food, Farming & Health

Book excerpt: Food, Farming & Health by Vandana Shiva, et al.

The book Food, Farming & Health shows how our health is a continuum from the soil, to the plants, to our bodies. It demonstrates how chemical farming depletes the soils of nutrition, producing plants that are nutritionally empty but full of toxic residues, which cause us – its consumers – to suffer from diseases related […]

Healthy soil life with a newly incorporated mixed-species cover crop. This young cover crop will provide nutrients and carbon to feed the soil biology as it breaks down.

Building the Microbial Bridge to Support Nutrient Availability

The root zone around plants, known as the rhizosphere, is an area of intense activity in the soil. It’s a lot like the snack stand at the state fair on a hot day. Everyone is crowding around trying to get to the cold drinks, funnel cakes and hot dogs. Snacks are being sold as quickly […]

Figure 1: Bacteria (small rod-like structures) and fungi (larger spherical shapes) associated with the surface of a root (rhizoplane) readily use organic substances released by the plant as sources of food and energy for mediating many biochemical processes and to maintain dense communities in the rhizosphere. Note the non-random distribution of bacteria showing concentration of cells on the rhizoplane where several processes take place including nutrient transformation, synthesis of plant growth-regulating compounds and antibiotic production for protection from attack by pathogenic microorganisms. Micrograph presented as 5,000X magnification. Source: R.J. Kremer

Soil Health, Quality & Microbial Diversity

Soil health and soil quality have evolved as important concepts as we continue to expand our understanding of soil as the vital factor for vigorous plant productivity. These concepts have also stressed our awareness that soil is indeed a limited non-renewable resource that requires deliberate stewardship to avoid or minimize its degradation. According to John […]

Unlike nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, magnesium is often overlooked in conventional fertility.

Magnesium, the Unheralded Star

Although nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and even calcium are often discussed, magnesium is mostly unheralded and misunderstood. In this article I will examine the nature of magnesium deficiency and show how ignoring soil magnesium can lead to dire consequences in human, plant and animal health. Like the other aforementioned macrominerals, magnesium is essential for plant and […]

Compost with undigested carbon materials still present has now cooled to
about 80°F and is ready for application.

Keys to Composting for Increased Soil Health, Vitality

For many years we have been composting various agricultural and forest materials at Tobacco Road Farm to provide for the soil fertility in order to raise vegetable crops without the use of pesticides. This practice has been highly successful though it has required more refinement as the environment continues to deteriorate and the soil’s need […]