Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Farming Tips for Better Yam (Ube) Production

Pests and diseases of seed tubers compromise yam production.

Numerous pests and diseases affect yam tubers. Nematodes, a particular concern, manifest during storage and facilitate tuber rot by fungi and bacteria. Viruses, on the other hand, can be devastating in the field during the growing period. Most bio-constraints affect seed productivity and viability, reducing germination, plant vigor and yield. The use of good quality and healthy seed material is therefore a crucial foundation for high and sustainable yam production, as it is for other clonally propagated crops, such as potato.

The use of diseased seed tubers results in the production of small, poor quality ware yam and a persistent cyclical decline. To prevent the introduction of pests and diseases into the production cycle, it is essential that healthy planting material is supplied to producers. However, obtaining healthy seed yam is one of the biggest problems for growers. Some farmers use their own seed stock, harvested from the previous season, while others obtain the seed material from specialized seed yam producers.

Producing Healthy Seed Yam

As with potato, yam seed material should be generated following strict production and phytosanitary guidelines to ensure high quality and disease-free seed stock. Dedicated seed producers are best suited for the supply of seed material. Farmers who prefer to generate seeds for their own use should set aside areas specifically for seed production. Seed yam should be produced by planting setts cut from a larger tuber which will provide whole seed yam of a suitable size as planting material; a relatively high level of care has to be applied because cut surfaces increase the likelihood of tuber rot and desiccation.

Minisetts (cutting yam tuber into smaller pieces) of 25 g have proved successful. However, farmers in West Africa prefer larger sized setts. These are less likely to fail and require less attention, especially under more marginal or risky conditions. An optimum size for the setts with which farmers felt comfortable and which produced favorably sized seed was 75-100 g spaced 25 cm on rows and with up to 1 m between rows. Rows spaced closer together can be used, but may require nutrient and irrigation supply.

Uncut whole seed tubers are best suited for the production of ware yam, rather than cut pieces from a larger tuber. Whole seed material reduces seed loss, particularly under marginal or stressed conditions. The supply of healthy, suitably sized whole seed tubers for use as planting material should therefore be a priority aim.

To generate healthy stocks, it is important to use the best possible quality yam for planting. The seed stock then acts as the superior quality material for the successive generation of seeds. This ‘rolling stock’ should then be regularly examined and treated as necessary to maintain high quality. A strict system for the identification, removal, and destruction of plants infected with viruses in the field needs to be rigorously employed.

For healthy seed stocks, three treatments can be employed to produce (or maintain) planting material free of pests and with very low presence of pathogens.

Hot Water Treatment

Exposure to a temperature of 50-55°C for 20-25 minutes disinfests tubers of most pests and pathogens. A large container that can be heated, into which yam tubers are submerged, preferably with a thermostat that will help maintain the water at a constant temperature, is required. The container can be constructed locally.

Disadvantages: There is the need for specialized equipment and a fuel/energy source; the process is time-consuming and slow; it may reduce germination of treated material, particularly certain sensitive cultivars.

Chemical Seed Sett Treatment

The use of a recommended fungicide-insecticide combination before planting has provided excellent results for producing healthy seeds. This is ideally applied by dipping setts into a liquid suspension, then leaving them to dry before planting. Studies in West Africa showed that a combination of a compatible fungicide and insecticide was most effective in increasing the yield, quality, and storability of seeds (Kenyon, 2005). It is important to receive local information from agro-input suppliers on safe and suitable products for this use. Chemical dusts can also be used, but may result in an uneven distribution.

Disadvantages: Care is required to prevent unwanted human and environmental contamination and to ensure the safe disposal of excess chemicals and packages; this method is not suitable for organic crop production.

The dual combination of hot water treatment followed by chemical dip is also a viable strategy, particularly when dealing with poor quality initial material.

Tissue Culture and Vine Cuttings

Tissue culture and vine cuttings are other technologies to mass-produce plants that form healthy mini-tubers to be used as seed material. They allow the elimination of major pests such as nematodes if they are planted on nematode-free land. However, as for hot water and chemical treatment, viruses cannot be fully eliminated and plants must be monitored for these symptoms and affected plants eradicated.

Vine cuttings give a high multiplication rate without the use of tubers. Depending on the cultivar, size, and type of mother plants, the multiplication rate of vines (about 20-50 times or more) and the size of tubers harvested will both vary. The combination of tissue culture and vine cuttings gives even higher multiplication rates, rapid growth, and clean tubers for seeds. However, there is a need for the validation of the technology with more species and cultivars in different agro-ecological zones. Nevertheless, it is expected that this technology can be simplified so that NARIs and seed producing farmers can apply it and produce healthy seed tubers.

Disadvantages: Tissue culture facilities are needed and the availability of rice husks for making carbonized rice husks as the rooting media is limited in some areas where rice is not cultivated.

source: www.practicalaction.org, bakerri.blogspot.com 

Monday, August 9, 2010

Health Benefits of Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender oil is extracted mostly from the flowers of lavender plant, primarily through steam distillation. The flowers of lavender are fragrant in nature and have been used for making potpourris since years.

Lavender essential oil has also been traditionally used in making perfumes. The oil is very useful in aromatherapy and many aromatic preparations are made using lavender oil. Lavender oil blends well with many other essential oils including cedarwood, pine, clary sage, geranium, and nutmeg. Today, lavender essential oil is used in various forms including aromatherapy oil, gels, infusion, lotion, and soaps.

The various health benefits of lavender essential oil include:

Nervous System: Lavender essential oil has a calming scent which makes it an excellent tonic for the nerves. Therefore, it helps in treating migraines, headaches, anxiety, depression, nervous tension and emotional stress. The refreshing aroma removes nervous exhaustion and restlessness and increases mental activity.

Sleep: Lavender essential oil induces sleep and hence it is often recommended for insomnia.

Pain Relief: Lavender essential oil is also an excellent remedy for various types of pains including those caused by sore muscles, tense muscles, muscular aches, rheumatism, sprains, backache and lumbago. A regular massage with lavender oil provides relief from pain in the joints.

Urine Flow: Lavender essential oil is good for urinary disorders as it stimulates urine production. It helps in restoring hormonal balance and reduces cystitis or inflammation of the urinary bladder. It also reduces any associated cramps.

Respiratory Disorders: Lavender oil is extensively used for various respiratory problems including throat infections, flu, cough, cold, asthma, sinus congestion, bronchitis, whooping cough, laryngitis, and tonsillitis. The oil is either used in the form of vapour or applied on the skin of neck, chest and back. It is also added in many vaporizers and inhalers used for cold and coughs.

Skin Care: The health benefits of lavender oil for the skin can be attributed to its antiseptic and antifungal properties. It is used to treat various skin disorders such as acne, wrinkles, psoriasis, and other inflammations. It heals wounds, cuts, burns, and sunburns rapidly as it aids in the formation of scar tissues. Lavender oil is added to chamomile to treat eczema.

Hair Care: Lavender essential oil is useful for the hair as it can be very effective on lice and lice eggs or nits.

Blood Circulation: Lavender essential oil is also good for improving blood circulation. It lowers blood pressure and is used for hypertension.

Digestion: Lavender oil is useful for digestion as it increases the mobility of the intestine. The oil also stimulates the production of gastric juices and bile and thus aids in treating indigestion, stomach pain, colic, flatulence, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Immunity: Regular use of lavender essential oil provides resistance to diseases.

Other health benefits of lavender essential oil include its ability to treat leucorrhoea. It is also effective against insect bites. The oil is also used to repel mosquitoes and moths. You will find many mosquito repellents containing lavender oil as one of the ingredients.

As with many other essential oils, pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid using lavender essential oil. It is also recommended that diabetics stay away from lavender oil. It may also cause allergic reactions to people having sensitive skin. Some people may also witness nausea, vomiting and headaches due to usage of lavender oil.

Health Benefits of Lavender Essential Oil

 The health benefits of lavender essential oil include its ability to remove nervous tension, relieve pain, disinfect scalp and skin, enhance blood circulation and treat respiratory problems. Lavender has the Latin name Lavare, which means “to wash”, due to its aroma that gives the feeling of a clean aroma.
Health Benefits of Lavender Essential Oil


Organic Oils Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

 The health benefits of coconut oil include hair care, skin care, stress relief, maintaining cholesterol levels, weight loss, increased immunity, proper digestion and metabolism, relief from kidney problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV and cancer, dental care, and bone strength. These benefits of coconut oil can be attributed to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, and its properties such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial, soothing, etc.


Benefits of Organic Farming for Small Farmers

 The various benefits of organic farming for small farmers all over the world include high premium, low capital investment, ability to achieve higher premium in the market, and the ability to use traditional knowledge. According to a research conducted by the Office of Evaluation and Studies (OE), International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), small farmers in Latin America, China and India can benefit drastically from organic farming and will help in alleviating poverty in these countries.

Organic farming refers to means of farming that does not involve usage of chemicals such as chemical fertilizers and chemical pesticides. Organic farming is being groomed to end modern farmers' struggles resulting to various debts and farming land mortgages. Numerous small farmers have been practicing organic farming; however, since they are unaware of the market opportunities they are not able to reap the benefits of organic farming.

Given below are some of the advantages of organic farming for small farmers:
High premium: Organic food is normally priced 20-30% higher than conventional food. This premium is very important for a small farmer whose income is just sufficient to feed his/her family with one meal.
Low investment: Organic farming normally does not involve capital investment as high as that required in chemical farming. Further, since organic fertilizers and pesticides can be produced locally, the yearly costs incurred by the farmer are also low. Agriculture greatly depends on external factors such as climate, pests, disease. Further most of the small farmers are dependent on natural rain for water. Therefore in cases of natural calamity, pest or disease attack, and irregular rainfall, when there is a crop failure, small farmers practicing organic farming have to suffer less as their investments are low. (It should be noted that while shifting from chemical farming to organic farming, the transition might be costly)
Less dependence on money lenders: Many small farmers worldwide commit suicide due to increasing debt. Since chemical inputs, which are very costly, are not required in organic farming, small farmers are not dependent on money lenders. Crop failure, therefore, does not leave an organic farmer into enormous debt, and does not force him to take an extreme step.
Synergy with life forms: Organic farming involves synergy with various plant and animal life forms. Small farmers are able to understand this synergy easily and hence find it easy to implement the
Traditional knowledge: Small farmers have abundance of traditional knowledge with them and within their community. Most of this traditional knowledge cannot be used for chemical farming. However, when it comes to organic farming, the farmers can make use of the traditional knowledge. Further, in case of organic farming, small farmers are not dependent on those who provide chemical know-how.


August Agriculture mag off the press

Get a copy of the August issue of Agriculture Magazine and learn many things about pummelo production and other improved farming techniques. The magazine is now off the press.

The August issue features the pummelo farm of Rene Florencio in Tarlac City where he is bagging his fruits with fruit bags that protect them from fruitfly attack. Other production techniques such as proper pruning and fertilization are also discussed with pointers coming from Dr. Pablito P. Pamplona, retired fruit expert from the University of Southern Mindanao.

You will also read about the Bighead carp which is about the most affordable fish species for the masses. Did you know that there are more than a thousand hectares of fishpens in Laguna Lake devoted to Bighead carp production?

Pete Samonte writes about a novel way of getting irrigation water from wells. In San Ildefonso, Bulacan, 17 wells have been constructed with the assistance of the Department of Agriculture. These wells have been providing vegetable farmers with water for irrigating their crops. The water from the dug wells is drawn with submersible pumps powered by electricity or by gasoline engine.

Allan C. Nas, our columnist from Pioneer Hi-Bred, writes about the importance of taking care of your corn plants in the first 30 days and then continuing to do so in the succeeding months. If you neglect your plants in the second month, the yield will probably be halved. If you don’t take care of your plants in the first month, and you continue to neglect them up to harvest time, you will harvest very small ears with poor grain fill.

There are many other interesting articles like the experience of Dr. Wilfredo Yap in changing his diet from rice to camote; the tree seedling production program at the Muntinlupa prisons spearheaded by former Batangas governor Antonio Leviste; developing entrepreneurship in Gawad Kalinga villages; a lady engineer who is a certified organic farmer; and many more stories.

FLORA & FAUNA EXPO. Make sure to visit the ongoing Flora & Fauna trade expo being held at the World Trade Center-Metro Manila at the corner of Puyat and Macapagal Avenues, Pasay City. You will see a lot of garden exhibits of plants and landscaping accessories, pets that include animals and fishes, and many more. There are exhibits indoors as well as outdoors. There are exotic fruit trees, bromeliads and a lot of ornamental plants in the outdoor exhibits. Sunshine free-range chickens are also available and a free lecture on this topic will be held this afternoon at 2 p.m. at the stall of Solraya Enterprises.

Source: By ZAC B. SARIAN  July 23, 2010, 2:01pm

Camote Solved His Hypertension

 Perhaps, one way of helping Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala achieve his goal of stopping rice importation after three years is to grow more camote and more people shifting from rice to eating camote.

That will not only help us attain rice self-sufficiency, it could also result in more healthy Filipinos. Ask our good friend Dr. Wilfredo Yap, an expert in aquaculture, who noticed with alarm last October (he was then 63) that his fasting blood sugar (FBS) had shot up to 160 mg per deciliter (mg/dl). His blood pressure went up to 150 over 100.

When we met him last April during a forum at the MFI Foundation, he was ecstatic in telling us that camote was responsible for lowering his blood pressure to the normal level of 120 over 80, sometimes 110 over 80 in just a few weeks of eating camote instead of rice. We asked him to write about how he did it and we promised to publish it in the Agriculture Magazine. He only wrote the article after we saw him again last June at a gathering at the Gawad Kalinga project in Angat, Bulacan.

His detailed story is published in the August issue but we would like to summarize what he did for the benefit of our readers. His first approach to lower his blood presure, he writes, was to reduce his sugar intake by avoiding soft drinks and sweets. He shifted to the use of coco sugar to sweeten his coffee since he has read that coco sugar has a low glycemic index (GI). There was very little improvement, though.

Then by yearend of 2009 her sister who works for an NGO in Pagadian had told him that a friend of hers was able to lower his blood pressure by eating camote instead of rice. As a New Year’s resolution, Fred shifted to camote instead of eating rice. He ate boiled camote for lunch and dinner while for breakfast he ate oatmeal and wheat bread. If he happens to go out and he has to eat lunch outside of his house, he makes it a point to bring boiled camote with him.

Fred writes: “Two weeks into my camote diet I had my FBS tested and lo and behold it had dropped to 101 mg/dl. Another two weeks and the reading dropped to 96 mg/dl. My blood pressure also dropped to 120/80 or sometimes 110/80. And this I achieved without taking any prescription drug. So to this day, I have maintained my camote diet. By no means does it mean eating nothing else but camote. I eat everything else that is eaten with rice – vegetable, fish or meat together with my camote.”

He now believes that if only 10 percent of Filipinos would shift to camote, rice import will become unnecessary. After all, he notes that Philippine rice deficiency is estimated by NFA at only 10 percent based on the present per capita consumption of 126.84 kg.

Source : By Zac B. Sarian

Thursday, July 29, 2010

How to Process Coconut Sap or Toddy

Locally, toddy is commonly called “tuba”. It is usually bottled and made into coconut wine, mixed with cinnamon bark to prevent fermentation which turns it into vinegar. Palm toddy is another kind of sap but not from coconut tree, it is from palm trees. Below are some technologies and procedures to convert the coconut sap into other value added products aside from wine. Technology Description

Sequential toddy & nut production(SCTNP) technology which producestoddy and nuts from the same spathe the palms has provided the farmers increase farm income without sacrificing the copra products and fully maximize economic potential of the palms with addition of another product which is coconut sap or toddy. It has high total sugar, ascorbic acid, phosphorus, and in amino acids, vitamins and minerals. can be an alternative source of sugar other products like sap drink (fresh cooled beverage), coco nectar (syrup) and vinegar which are high value food products.
Tapping & harvesting of toddy
Tapping is done twice a day.Harvesting of toddy can be donemorning ( taken before 8 am ) forproduction of ‘tuba’ or vinegar whilethe production of fresh sap drink, nectarand sugar, it is best to used the afternoonharvest ( taken not later than 3 pmwhich is sweeter than the morningharvest. To produce sweet toddy, it necessary that all tools and containersbe used should be clean at all times.Adding of lime to the receptacle preventsthe sap from fermentation.
Toddy processing
The conversion of toddy into sap drink,coco nectar and sugar involves a simple operation. As the coconut sap is highly perishable due to the yeast microflora, the harvested sap should be immediately processed by boiling for 1/2 hour in alarge cast iron pan. This process preventsthe sap from fermentation.
Sap Drink
This can be simply done immediately by pasteurizing (heating at 60°C) the toddy. The toddy is then poured separately in the desired container tightly sealed and placed in the refrigerator. If hygienically prepared, the sap drink can be stored until 3 days without deterioration.
Coco Nectar/Syrup
Further boiling of toddy until it reaches 110° C temperature or sticky under a moderate to very low heat. The sticky liquid shall be allowed to cool then poured into a desired container.
Coco Sugar
Boil coco sap to evaporate the water under moderate heat with occasional stirring until liquidthickens at 115°C. Remove it from the flame when it begins to become very sticky. Continue mixing until it becomes granular. Air dry the brown sugar before placing them in a packaging material.
Sap Natural/Organic Vinegar
Pour toddy in a wide large container witha clean netted cover to allow aerationand prevent entrance of dirt and foreign objects. After 5-10 days fermentation period in a well ventilated room, the sap can be harvested as vinegar. To maintain the desired quality of the matured vinegar (with at least 4% acidity),pasteurize it by boiling for 5-10 minutes at 60-65° C, allow the vinegar to cool before placing in very clean bottles and then cover tightly and sealed.
Source: Philippine Coconut Authority Website

How to Make Organic Fertilizer

Bioorganic Fertilizer (BOF) From Coir Dust And Animal Manures
Organic FertilizersBioorganic Fertilizer (BOF) is a processed inoculated compost from any organic material that has undergone rapid decomposition by the introduction of homogeneous microbial inoculants. This is different from fresh organic fertilizer where natural decay process is brought about by the action of heterogeneous microbes present in the organic matter. Compared with the traditional composting method, microbial inoculation hastens the decomposition from three months to just 3-4 weeks.
Inoculants are commercially available in selected areas in the country but could be easily accessed. Trichoderma harzianum , a single celled fungus hastens the decomposition of organic materials especially those high in lignin and cellulose like rice straw, coir dust, bagasse and weeds. Commercial inoculants i.e Greenmix, Mabijon composter are enriched with other beneficial microbes like the nitrogen fixing bacteria, Azotobacter.
Can I make organic fertilizer? To produce quality organic fertilizer, plant residues like coir dust, bagasse, mudpress, rice straw etc. must be mixed with animal residues. Leguminous plants could be part of the substrate to substitute part of the manure.

I. Raw materials: The amount depends on the desired quantity of heap and ratio of plant residue and animal manures which could be 1:1, 2:1 or 1:2. For a 4 ton heap at 1:1 ratio you need:
a) Coir dust (2T)
b) Chicken manure (1T)
c) Swine manure (1T)
d) Inoculant (1% of weight of raw material-40kg)
II. Small tools and implement
a) rakes
b) shovel
c) spading fork
d) sprinklers or water hose
e) plastic laminated sack as cover
f) wheelbarrow
g) Weighing scale
h) Siever (wire mesh size of ¼ of an inch)
i) Protective wear: gloves, mask, hat, boots
How to Make Organic Fertilizer
I. Site selection:
The ideal composting site is shaded and well drained and near a source of water. However, open areacould be used. Four tons of agricultural waste can be composted in a space measuring 4m x 6m.
II. Preparation of raw materials: Collect the required amount of coir dust, chicken manure and swine manure. Discard stones, plastics,metals and other non-biodegradable materials. Note their moisture content and weights. Divide coir dust into three parts.
III. Piling of materials
Step 1. Spread 1/3 of coir dust as the first layer.Water to about 60%moisture content.Press the sample inyour palm and when the water does not fall freely, then it is almost within the right water content. Apply the required amount of inoculant on top (0.5% of the weight of the material in a layer.)
Step 2. Spread evenly the chicken manure on top, water and inoculate.
Step 3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 but use swine manure instead of chicken manure. Apply the inoculant on top of the fourth layer combining the weight of materials in the fourth and fifth layers.
Step 4. As the topmost layer, spread evenly coir dust but do not inoculate. This serves as a buffer for odor.
Step 5. Cover the heap with laminated plastic sack to conserve moisture and prevent rainwater fromgetting into the pile.Incubate for 4-7 days.
IV. Mixing and turning over
Step 6. After 4-7 days, turn and mix thoroughly the materials. Water if needed during turning.Return the cover.Repeat step 6 at weekly interval.
V. Harvesting, sieving and further processing
Step 7. After three or four weeks, harvest the material. Ripe compost has dark brown toblack color, nooffensive smell,temperature is ambient and with 35% moisture content or lower. Screen the organic fertilizerthrough manual siever or mechanical sifter.
Step 8. Inoculate the sifted material with 0.5% of the inoculant, store for three days under shade.
Step 9. Put BOF in 50 kg plastic lined sack and seal. Do not pile directly on concrete flooring butprovide wooden platform and stack not more than10 sacks high. Store not more than 6 months in anaerated but dry area.
QUALITY CONTROL MEASURES: For a good quality bioorganic fertilizer,observe these points:
1) Separate the dry materials from wet ones.
2) Monitor periodically the temperature of the heap. It must be within the right temperature range. The heapmust heat up over 400C 24hours after heaping. Within the first week, desired temperature is 40-500C. Ifthis temperature is not reached, check wetness ofthe materials. Remove the cover, turn over the heap to allow excess moisture to escape. Temperature must reached up to 620C.
3) For a product to be registered with the FPA as pure organic fertilizer, it must have 5-7% total NPK with at least 1.5% N and at least 10% carbon. The organic matter must be 10% and above with a neutral to slightly alkaline pH.
1. increases yield and improves quality of crops
2. improves soil structure: better soil aeration,increases water-holding capacity
3. improves chemical properties of soil: corrects acidity, restores soil fertility by enriching soil with trace and other micro nutrients and organic matter
4. restores microbial balance and enriches soil with microfauna
The rate of application depends on the kind of crop to be fertilized. BOF application ranges from10-20 bags /ha or 2-6 kg/tree for bearing plantation crop like coconut. Initially, this recommendation must be combined with 50% of the recommended rate of inorganic fertilizers.
1. Reduced dependence on inorganic fertilizers
2. Renewable and locally available raw materials
3. Contribute to proper waste disposal
4. Generate employment opportunity
5. Contribute to biodiversity
6. Lessen environmental pollution
_ % recovery – 75 operation time –30 days
_ 4 tons of raw materials

Source: Philippine Coconut Authority
Write or call:
Agronomy & Soils Division
Davao Research Center
Philippine Coconut Authority
Bago Oshiro, Davao City
Tel. No. (082) 293-0161
E-mail: pcaasd@pldtdsl.com

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Organic fertilizer

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Organic fertilizers are naturally-occurring fertilizers (e.g. peat moss or green manure), or naturally occurring mineral deposits (e.g. saltpeter).

Naturally occurring organic fertilizers include manure, slurry, worm castings, peat, seaweed, humic acid, brassin and guano. Sewage sludge use in organic agricultural operations in the U.S. has been extremely limited and rare due to USDA prohibition of the practice (due to toxic metal accumulation, among other factors)[1][2][3].

Processed organic fertilizers include compost, bloodmeal, bone meal, humic acid, amino acids, brassin and seaweed extracts. Other examples are natural enzyme digested proteins, fish meal, and feather meal. Decomposing crop residue from prior years is another source of fertilit

Organic Fertilizer

* Give your garden some real life!
* Make rich fertile soil
* More healthy plants - more healthy you!

You may have been put off organic fertilizers that don't produce the instant results that you're used to. But to make organic gardening work its wonders you need to do the other gardening things too. So as well as links to my fertilizer information, you'll also find more here about how to use and reduce on fertilizer.

Chicken manure especially, as well as fish blood and bone, and other organic stuff mentioned here certainly get results. But they are only one part of what makes my garden blossom and fruit and the cauliflower turn up rich and healthy.

When You Need To Use Organic Fertilizers Most garden soils contain the bare essentials. But for many important garden plants more fertilizer helps.
When growing in containers
you can make good earth for containers from garden compost, loam, leaf mold, perhaps comfrey leaves and fed with specialised organic fertilizer blends,
When growing nutrient demanding crops
Brassicas, potatoes... modern varieties of some plants may be more demanding - composted or dried manure is essential
- Poultry / chicken manure is here,
For plants growing on the same site for long periods
e.g. lawns, shrubs, hedges, trees... garden compost and manure is still a great provider
- More on lawn and shrub fertilizer,
When growing on thin unfertile ground
work in manure - continue to use organic fertilizer to make better quality compost, and grow green manures to dig in. See organic base fertilizer and re-mineralizing rock dust on link here.

In fact, I always add organic fertilizer for important crops and flowers. But I recycle the green waste through compost and also build moisture retentive, increasingly fertile soil. And because I use organic fertilizer (and I'm careful) less damage is done.

Provide Complete Fertilizers - Keep It Simple And Whole
Growing plants need all the major nutrients and more. Don't focus on N for leaves, P for roots, K for... ? Remember that you are growing whole plants, not leaves without roots, or flowers without leaves.
So avoid single nutrient plant foods.

Correct Problem/Deficient Soils
Move the complete range of nutrients from bagged composted manure and organic fertilizers through your plants and into garden compost. Made from living plants, compost contains all the essential nutrients at an ideal ph and so eventually your garden soil will come right.

Manure and garden compost dramatically improve soil condition too. So I can grow more kinds of plants with fewer worries about drainage and water shortage. And as the earth gets richer and deeper I can grow plants with closer spacing and look forward to bigger harvests and more flowers still.

Alternatives To Fertilizer

  • Simply water your plants when dry to bring existing soil nutrients to your plant's roots,
    Grow your plants with a strong healthy root system, 
  • Maintain healthy soil that's well-aerated, free draining and moisture holding and you'll help most garden plants to bare flowers and fruit in plenty, 
  • Soil micro-organisms are important for feeding your plants too,
    The organic gardening term 'feed the soil not the plant' recognises all of these benefits. So add organic matter. 
  • Advantages To 'Feeding The Soil'
    You'll be able to grow more types of plant successfully - more free draining, more moisture holding, organically rich, diverse soil micro-organisms support plant growth and condition your soil so it's easier to work,  http://www.the-organic-gardener.com

Organic Farming Benefits

What is Organic Farming?
While there’s no formal or universal definition for organic farming, it can be defined as one or more systems of production which don’t use synthetic fertilizers, man-made pesticides, herbicides, growth regulators, antibiotics, hormone stimulants and/or livestock feed additives to grow crops and raise animals.

Organic farming in and of itself differs greatly from conventional farming in a number of ways. Virtually all Organic Farmers who grow crops prefer to use renewable resources and recycling to return what most conventional farmers would consider waste, back to the soil as mother nature intended.

Use of crop rotation, animal manure, including green manure, legumes, natural minerals and biological pest controls are important elements used in modern day organic farming systems.

Use of crop rotation, animal manure, including green manure, legumes, natural minerals and biological pest controls are important elements used in modern day organic farming systems.

More importantly, Organic Farmer’s use numerous techniques to promote life within existing ecosystems and minimize pollution that occurs with virtually all conventional farming practices.

Organic Farmers who raise livestock will not use growth hormones, antibiotics or grains grown in soils loaded with synthetic fertilizers to their feed livestock.

By using natural foodstuffs and having a particular concern for animal welfare, Organic Farmer’s use the environment’s own systems to produce healthy livestock and return waste back into the soil.

Some important facts you should know about organic farming:

• Consumer demand for organically grown foods and livestock products are increasing. Sales of organic products are the fastest growing sector of agriculture. Sales continue to grow by over 20% annually and have shown an annual increase of at least 20% during the last 6 years.

• Over the next 10 years analysts are projecting total sales of organic products to exceed one hundred billion dollars worldwide. The vast majority of growth will in occur in the United States, Japan and throughout Europe. (Source – IFOAM, International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movement)

• Large corporations such as McDonalds (with organic milk being sold in Sweden), Lufthansa, Swiss Air and Nestlé are positioning their products and services to cater to the organic consumer.

• Thousand of corporations are targeting consumers worldwide by adding organic foods to their product lines.

• Since October of 2002,organic farms must undergo an annual inspection by a licensed Certifier to determine if the they’re operating under specific guidelines to be certified as producing organic foods and livestock.

• Organic farming can actually save farmers money and give them significantly better returns on land and resource utilization as compared to conventional farming. Conventional farming uses more petroleum than any other industry and consumes almost 12% of the United States energy supply.

• It can take up to five years for a conventional farm to convert to organic farming.

• If a product falls under 100% Organic Certification, you can be assured that there are no GMOs (Genetically Modified Foods) in that product.

• It’s estimated that conventional farmers use over 300 different pesticides to grow (non-organic) foods which are sold in virtually all supermarkets worldwide.

• Organic Aquaculture worldwide is a booming business. Over 20% of all shellfish, an estimated 15 trillion metric tons are produced by Organic Aquaculture Farmers. China is the largest producer of these products.
(Source – www.mindfully.org)

Aside from these known facts and current statistics on organic farming, there are numerous inherent benefits that both the organic farmers and consumers of their products receive to improve on health, quality of life and longevity.

Use of crop rotation, animal manure, including green manure, legumes, natural minerals and biological pest controls are important elements used in modern day organic farming systems.

More importantly, Organic Farmer’s use numerous techniques to promote life within existing ecosystems and minimize pollution that occurs with virtually all conventional farming practices.

Organic Farmers who raise livestock will not use growth hormones, antibiotics or grains grown in soils loaded with synthetic fertilizers to their feed livestock.

By using natural foodstuffs and having a particular concern for animal welfare, Organic Farmer’s use the environment’s own systems to produce healthy livestock and return waste back into the soil.

 Some important benefits for organic farmers and organic food consumers:

• Organic farming is a science within itself that conventional farmers can learn while they transfer their capital resources and skills to master a trade that can be even more profitable than conventional farming.

• Researchers in the United States have found that by following organic farming methods, conventional farmer’s can actually reduce production cost by over 25%. This is accomplished by eliminating the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, minimizing soil erosion by up to 50% and increasing crop yields up to five-fold within five years.

• Regardless of products produced, a well planned transition strategy will allow conventional farmers to adopt new, more effective organic farming process in as little as three to five years.

• Organic farms can support substantially higher levels of wildlife especially in lowlands and where animals can roam pastures or graze on grassland. Not only does wildlife benefit, but entire ecosystems and ground water are improved by simply following organic farming methods.

• Organic farming practices not only benefit farmers and consumers; but the dairies can benefit. When dairies feed their cows organic feed and graze them on organic fields, the cows experience better health, less sickness, diseases and ultimately produce better tasting milk for consumers.

• Organic farming promotes soils that are teaming with life and rich in micro nutrients which can be used for decades to grow crops virtually year round in many parts of the world.

• Consumers purchasing organically grown foods can taste the difference and see the quality of virtually any organic product they buy. Regardless of minimal price differences, consumers can smell, taste and see the difference in the quality of organically grown food products.

• Consumers buy organically grown food products not just because of competitive prices, but due to the increased availability of organic food products as seen in both grocery and organic food specialty stores.

• Organically grown products are free from harmful chemicals, artificial flavors and preservatives that ultimately cost consumers money when they purchase non-organically grown products. You can always taste the difference between organically grown and conventionally grown products.

• Eating organic foods may in fact, reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes and cancer for individuals who abstain from consuming products produced by conventional farming methods. Biochemist are continually researching the inherent benefits of organically grown foods and discovering the consequences consuming products loaded with toxins and chemicals which, until recently, have only begun to be introduced to humans. The fact is, you ultimately are what you eat.

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International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements

The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) is the worldwide umbrella organization for the organic agriculture movement, uniting more than 750 member organizations in 108 countries.[1] It declares its mission to be as follows:
"IFOAM's mission is leading, uniting and assisting the organic movement in its full diversity. Our goal is the worldwide adoption of ecologically, socially and economically sound systems that are based on the principles of Organic Agriculture."

Among its wide range of activities, IFOAM maintains an organic farming standard, and an organic accreditation service.


IFOAM began in Versailles, France, on November 5, 1972, during an international congress on organic agriculture organized by the French farmer organization Nature et Progrès. The late Roland Chevriot, President of Nature et Progrès, took the initiative. There were 5 founding members representing different organizations: Lady Eve Balfour representing the Soil Association of Great Britain, Kjell Arman representing the Swedish Biodynamic Association, Pauline Raphaely representing the Soil Association of South Africa, Jerome Goldstein representing Rodale Press of the United States, and Roland Chevriot representing Nature et Progrès of France.

The aim of the new organization was reflected in the name: International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements. The founders hoped that the federation would meet what they saw as a major need: a unified, organized voice for organic food, and the diffusion and exchange of information on the principles and practices of organic agriculture across national and linguistic boundaries.

The IFOAM General Assembly serves as the foundation of IFOAM. It elects the IFOAM World Board for a three year term. The IFOAM World Board is a diverse group of individuals working voluntarily to lead IFOAM. The current World Board was elected at the IFOAM General Assembly in Vignola/Italy [2], which took place from June 22-24, 2008. The World Board appoints members to official committees, working groups and task forces based upon the recommendation of the IFOAM membership, and IFOAM member organizations also establish regional groups and sector specific interest groups.

International Standing

IFOAM actively participates in international agricultural and environmental negotiations with the United Nations and multilateral institutions to further the interests of the organic agricultural movement worldwide, and has observer status or is otherwise accredited by the following international institutions:
ECOSOC Status with the United Nations General Assembly[3]
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)[4]
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)[5]
Codex Alimentarius Commission (FAO and WHO)[6]
United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)[7]
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
International Labor Organization of the United Nations (ILO)[8]
International Organization for Standardization (ISO)[9]

According to the One World Trust's Global Accountability Report 2008[10] which assessed a range of organisations in areas such as transparency, stakeholder participation and evaluation capacity, "IFOAM is the highest scoring international NGO, and at the top of the 30 organisations this year with a score of 71 percent".


Organic farming is the form of agriculture that relies on techniques such as crop rotation, green manure, compost, biological pest control, and mechanical cultivation to maintain soil productivity and control pests on a farm. Organic farming excludes or strictly limits the use of synthetic fertilizers and synthetic pesticides, plant growth regulators, livestock antibiotics, food additives, and genetically modified organisms.[1]

Organic agricultural methods are internationally regulated and legally enforced by many nations, based in large part on the standards set by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), an international umbrella organization for organic organizations established in 1972. IFOAM defines the overarching goal of organic farming as follows:
"Organic agriculture is a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects. Organic agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved.."