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NASA Scientist Have Embarked on Growth of Plants In Space

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Necessity is Inspiring NASA To Engage in Growth of Plants In Space and Other’ Worlds

Whenever NASA sends an astronaut to Mars they must be provided with enough food to sustain their lives during the trip. You realize freezing-dried’ pre-packaged meals for a mission of 2.5′ years to the Red Planet’ is likely to consume a lot of weight and sufficient room for an interplanetary vehicle. For a journey to Mars, weight is highly important. The less weight carried the better, at the same time, this food many lose it great taste or the freshness.

This situation has, therefore, compelled NASA to develop an interest in how they can supplement the astronauts’ diets with some plants which can be grown on the space or other worlds. They have found seeds that take less space and not weighty compared to prepared food.

Therefore, scientist’ at NASA Kennedy’ Space Center has been carrying out experiments on how to grow vegetables and plants on a simulated environment of the space. These environments include the microgravity areas of the International Space’ Station and the outside world which have less gravity compared to that of the Earth, Mars, and Moon.

At Kennedy, the scientists have done experiments with varied lighting and temperatures in order to tell of the environments that are most favorable for the growth of the plants. They are also working hard towards the simulation of conditions on the ISS’ to tell of the plants that can effectively do well on low Earth Orbit. NASA is also trying to think of how they can grow plants using little soil by use of methods such as aeroponic and hydroponics.

The hydroponics involves the delivery of nutrients and water to the roots of the plants through the use of liquid solutions, while with aeroponics’ plants is usually grown on an environment that has misty hair. These two methods help to avoid the necessity for much dirt that is so heavy and in the long run, may consume a lot of space on the rocket.

Water is known to exhibit different behavior, especially in environments with low gravity. It compacts together in a very weird manner than it would do on earth, which makes it a bit tricky especially on the water root plants. Nonetheless, NASA, have recorded great success on the growth of vegetables on the International’ Space Station. Through the research by NASA, the astronauts have successfully grown and eaten these same plants in the ISS. The first experiment they carried out involved the growth of the red’ romaine lettuce on clay pillows rather than the soil.

Scientists have developed an interest in using the interplanetary soil in the growth of the plants in the future. However, the ‘soil’ which is found on Mars and Moon is not really a normal soil. It’s a regolith’ or rocky, loose material which is made from the volcanic ash that lacks sufficient organic materials. The regolith’ found on Mars is not clean at all. The Rovers found on Mars have discovered a kind of salt that is referred to as the perchlorates in dirt which is highly dangerous for human consumption when taken in high quantities. It is very possible that astronauts have been able to clean the regolith by use of chemical solutions or some other types of bacteria, although the method has not been fleshed out.

The mastery of skills on how to grow the plant in space and other worlds is very crucial for the future astronauts who will be traveling for long-duration’ missions outside the earth. The plant-based food is not only essential for nutrition but also effective for the supplementation of pre-packaged diet alongside vegetables that could be effective for the stressed-out astronauts missing their home. A number of astronauts’ have confirmed that whenever they travel to space they usually miss great foods for their planet. Gioia Massa’ a scientist of NASA studying the production of food in space at the Kennedy Space’ Center informed The Verge’, that having juicy, fresh, crunchy’ texture on their diet is highly crucial.

The Green Revolution Made by CRISPR. Re-domestication of Vegetables and Fruits

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In the early’ 20th century, there was a strange tomato which sprouted in the Northeastern’ the United States. Due to genetic mutation, the branches of the plant grew shorter than they should be. This, therefore, led to more compact crops making harvesting easier. According to Joyce Van Eck’ a biologist specialist in plants from Thompson Institute in New’ York, the plant’s traits revolutionized’ the production of commercial tomato.

Other great qualities which are associated with tomatoes came by chance. Over several years of selective’ breeding, the fruit evolved from pea size to the size of an apple. The ripening was more streamlined in an effort to ensure tomatoes sold at the supermarket had a uniform red color. The farmers who fell for these great features inadvertently lost others such as nutritional value, flavor, and the ability to resist drought.

The genetic history of tomato is its typical produce and by accident of genetic mutation we have practically ended up with vegetable and fruit. Well, Van Eck’ is one of the greatest geneticist’ who envisions other effective approaches to activation. Her lab is on the verge to rekindle the history. They have started with the wild crop ancestors and their related modern ‘crop plants, which comes with their own amazing features. Therefore, utilizing gene-editing’ technology known as the CRISPR-Cas9 is giving more attractive traits to commercial products.

This idea was tried in the year 2016 when a group of the university including the University of Sao Paulo’ brought the idea of planning towards re-domesticating the tomatoes. In the paper which they published on Plant Science, they were able to identify several essential characters, for example, the size of the fruit, and the length of the branch and they revealed that the attractive modern’ versions of these particular traits resulted from the change of their functions. If they were to change those genes, they could be able to secure redo-domestication.

The CRISPR -Cs9 system was launched in the year 2013, which was an adorable job. When it injected inside the nucleus of a cell, the system is able to successfully get rid of the predetermined sequence of genes. The CRISPR -Cas9 was used on a wild tomato to shaping the DNA in order to guide the growth of long shoots. This resulted in a more compact plant alongside ancient characteristics such as nutrients and flavor.

Late last’ year Peres’ made a test in the lab, on the Nature Biotechnology, whereby he and many other colleagues found that it was possible to regulate the length of the branch and boost the size of the fruit and the general yields. Important fruits such as the antioxidant, and lycopene could also be improved.

The viability of this strategy was put under verification by another great independent researcher at the Chinese’ Academy’ of the Sciences which was published’ last year. Through the use of the same technique, they were able to introduce commercial and more valuable traits and at the same time retaining tomato plants which are resistance to droughts. These highly resilient versions can successfully withstand the effects brought about by the change of climate.

The ancestral’ relatives of modern crops have proved to be the perfect start. In fact, as Peres and Kudla were struggling to separate the tomato plants, Van Eck’ was busy enlisting CRISPR aimed at improving the commercial’ ground cherries. Cherry is a distant tomato’ sold by the farmer’s markets which is very flavorful, nutritious and highly impractical. The fruit is very minuscule where their branch drops off when it is ripe, which makes it a bit difficult when it comes to harvesting. These problems were fixed by Van Eck’ where he compared genes of the ground cherries and the genes’ of domesticated tomatoes where he singled out the similar ones.

Most of the people are now seeking more information from Van Eck’ on other potential crops. She says that a farmer from Nigeria informed her that they had indigenous grains which were naturally resistance to droughts. The plant does not produce a lot of seeds and has unwieldy growth’ pattern which makes it challenging when it comes to harvesting. She is conducting an investigation in the lab on mutations that are likely to make it easy to harvest.

With the good capacity to guide the plants through various cultivation pathways or exploring what would have happened if the ancestors had taken some crops, CRISPR has been able to turn out the speculations into reality. This is aimed at taking care of the future which is likely to have more individuals feeding on them.

Growing Cherry Trees

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Planting cherry trees in your garden is good. However, some people lack the knowledge of how to grow cherry trees in their homes. The trees give a very nice scene especially during springs as they are full of white and pink flowers. This is followed by what people like most in the plant, the sweet cherry. The article explains how to grow cherry trees on your farm.

The cherry is available in two varieties, namely the sweet cherry and sour cherry.

The sugary cherry varieties are common in many places. The cherry has a dense and rich nature. The sweet cherry grows very well even in harsh environments; the plant has a unique self-sterile, it’s good for growing it in a big garden or your fruit farm. When planting you require at least 2 or 3 plants for pollination to take place effectively. With science in agriculture, there has been an improvement and developing of a self-pollinating cherry tree. The sour cherry can’t be taken raw and are used in the kitchen for preservative purposes. The cherry is smaller compared to the sweet cherry. The plant can be grown in the temperate areas.

The cherry tree begins to bear fruits during their 4th year. But the shorter varieties bear fruits in 3rd year. A well-grown cherry tree normally gives about 30-40 qtz of cherry for a year, but the dwarf variety gives 10-15 qtz.

How To Plant Cherries

They are planted during the early springs because the soils are soft and a lot of moisture. In the case of the sweet cherry plant, they are planted close to one another for pollination purposes. They’re planted in open space away from buildings for good circulation of air and access to the sun. The trees require deep soils with good drainage. The spacing, especially for the sweet cherry, should be 35-40 ft from one another while the shorts are planted at 5-10 ft from each other. It’s good to place your trees in the normal stock some inches beneath the ground.

In the case of the fan trees, it’s good to make some supporting staff before you plant the tree. The fans are planted at 12-15 ft from each other. While the bare roots, you plant the stock in the soil at the hole middle. The root shouldn’t be bend and fill it with soil. Those who like using containers to plant, just have the rootball removed and then cut. Avoid covering the rootball top.

How To Care For Cherry

Both sweet and sour cherry requires the same care and maintenance. Mulching is recommended to conserve moisture. Nets are used to prevent birds from feeding on the fruits. Also, observe regular watering when growing the plant in hot places. The cherry tree doesn’t require any thin to be done since they do it themselves. The trees are pruned yearly mostly during the cold season to promote fruiting.

Pest and Diseases

The plant can be attacked by caterpillars, aphids, brown rot, Japanese beetles and black knot. The tree may be invaded by bacteria disease. The pesticides are available to cater for all the pests.

Harvesting

The fruits are harvested when ripe, that is red, yellow or black depending on varieties. The cherries are harvested, eaten and cooked. Avoid handpicks the fruit as you may get injured and infected.

Grapes for Wine making

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One of the factors that determine the origin, quality, and taste of wines is the grape from which it is made. Viticulture is a branch of horticulture concerned with the cultivation of grapes for winemaking. Winemakers consider most importantly the aspect of viticulture in their production process by choosing the varieties that will thrive will in their growing region. Grapes for wine production have two main types: red and white. The most familiar red grape varieties are Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Tempranillo while the most familiar white varieties are Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Gewurztraminer.

Let’s take a look at some of these important types.

Red Grape Types

Cabernet Franc 

Cabernet Franc is a red sort regularly found in Bordeaux, France. Cabernet Franc is a significant kind utilized in formulating mixes of a few wines found in different regions of the world. Well-known wines that were sourced from this grape are the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It might have a peppery taste with tobacco, raspberry or coffee dependent on the district where it is made from. The 100% Cabernet Franc varietal wine produced using this grape can be found in couple of areas of the world. The most ancient is the Loire Valley in France, and as of late in the Washington, California and Carolina conditions of the United States. 

Cabernet Sauvignon 

Cabernet Sauvignon grape originally started from Bordeaux, France. It is a blended kind from two parental hybrids of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. Since it was first made known over numerous hundreds of years back, it has been embraced in several regions of the world. Wines produced using this grape have been found with exceptional taste and fragrance. The development of this grape has stretched out from Europe to other winemaking areas around the world. Cabernet Sauvignon is presently a significant sort developed and utilized as a mix in California, the state creating over 90% of U.S. wines. 

Merlot 

Merlot known for its intense and rich fruity red color is one of the significant red grape types with its source originating from the Bordeaux in France. The taste is like Cabernet with the fragrances of blackberry, cassis berries, chocolate, and coffee. Merlot is like Cabernet yet with less tannin content that gives it the fine flavor and taste. Merlot grapes are developed as a noteworthy sort in Chile, Italy, and the United States. 

Syrah 

Syrah grape is a red sort that took its starting point from the Rhône wine district in Northern France. The grape has been embraced as the primary sort for winemakers in nations like Australia and South Africa. Hermitage and Cote Rotie vintage wines produced using Syrah grapes energized a few people from Australia on a visit to France to discover progressively about the grape. They took the Syrah grape along to Australia where it is locally called Shiraz. The wines produced using Syrah are well known in light of the fact that they come in various styles. Ideal and delightful wines with ready plums and blackberry natural products express the diverse qualities of the locale they originate from, for example, flavors and pepper from cold atmospheres, for example, the Yarra Valley and Adelaide Hills of Australia.

Pinot Noir 

The Pinot Noir grape type is indigenous to the Burgundy region in France, which offers probably best quality red wines to date. A few nations have imported Pinot Noir into its wine-production industry. This has made the grape gain its popularity after some time with top quality wines from California, Oregon, New Zealand, and numerous other new wine developing regions. 

Tempranillo 

With many of the red grape types beginning from France, Tempranillo is a red grape that took its origin from Spain and used to create delectable Spanish red wines. Regardless of its origin from Spain, it has been developed by viticulturists in America, Australia, and South Africa. Tempranillo grows earlier than other grape types which improve its flavor, taste, and quality. Wines produced using Tempranillo has a decent flavor, for example, plum, tobacco, cedar, and vanilla. Tempranillo is developed in all wine regions of Spain, yet particularly in the cooler districts of the northern La Rioja and Valdepenas. The Spanish Conquistadors took the grape seeds to different parts of Europe and America without any differences in the flavor and taste as those developed in Spain. 

White Grape Types 

Sauvignon Blanc 

Sauvignon Blanc is a white sort from the Bordeaux, France. Sauvignon Blanc is coined from two French words “Sauvage” (wild) and “blanc” (white). Sauvignon blanc is planted in many wine-developing areas of the world and is known for its crisp, dry and reviving flavor. Wines produced using Sauvignon offers a wide scope of flavors from home grown to citrus and tropical shades which express the distinctive attributes of the locale from which they are made. Sauvignon blanc is a principal white sort that can be found in numerous locales of Europe, America, and Australia. 

Chardonnay 

Chardonnay is another significant white grape utilized in the creation of a few mixes of white wine and is found nearly in all areas of the world. The grape started from Burgundy, France. The wines produced using Chardonnay grape has diverse taste and flavor dependent on the region from which they are made. Chardonnay is a various grape type that has been made known to a few different nations outside France, for example, England, New Zealand, Australia, and the United States. 

Gewürztraminer

Gewürztraminer is white grape and it isn’t as common compared with Sauvignon blanc and Chardonnay. Its cultivation began as a mutant cross from traminer also called Sauvignon blanc in northern Italy. Traminer is an old grape from Tramin a der Weinstraße, a German-speaking part of Italy. Gewürztraminer has distinctive characteristics and easy to recognize from its floral to fruity aroma for many wine connoisseurs. It has an exceptional fragrance of flower petal, gardenia, honeysuckle, lychee, grapefruit, peach, and mango. Gewürztraminer albeit is grown basically in Alsace, France but it has been made known to different nations like New Zealand, Australia, and the United States. Wines made with Gewürztraminer grape offers loads of tasty flavors and health benefits.

Organic Crop Production

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Organic Crop Production

  • A holistic production management system aimed to promote and enhance the health of soils, ecosystems and people.
  • It gives emphasis to the utilization of locally adapted management practices and farm inputs.

Aims of Organic Crop Production

  • Enhancing biological diversity
  • Increasing soil biological activity
  • Maintaining long-term fertility
  • Management of pests
  • Recycling of plant wastes
  • Minimizing all forms of pollution from agricultural practices

Strategies for Crop Production

  • Organic Soil Management. Soil management shall encourage nutrient cycling while mitigating soil and nutrient losses. The fertility and biological activity of the soil should be maintained or increased through the following:

o   Cultivation of legumes or green manures in appropriate crop rotation program

o   Recycling of nutrients through composting

o   Incorporation of organic materials

o   Protection of soil from erosion

  • Promotion of genetic diversity and ensuring that the seeds used are not contaminated.

How Do We Choose the Crops to Plant?

  • For a beginner, it’s good to start with vegetables that you like to eat and at the same time are easy to grow.
  • Nothing is more rewarding than eating the production of your own sweat.
  • And more specifically so, having the peace of mind that you and your family are eating safe food.

Families of Vegetables

  • Leafy Vegetables. These are crops mainly used for their leaves whether eaten raw or cooked. It is usually grown for salad and it requires full sunlight. It can also be grown in container/pots and it has shallow roots. It has minimal pests and no need for trellis. It is ideal for backyard gardening. Here are some examples of leafy vegetables:

o   Lettuce

o   Kale

o   Mustard

o   Spinach

o   Arugula

o   Pechay

  • Cucurbits. The cucumber and squash family belongs to this family. They are vine crops and it requires trellis. It grows from 30 to 90 days and has it has deep roots. It requires full sunlight and can be grown in bigger containers. Here are some examples of cucurbits:

o   Cucumbers

o   Squash

o   Watermelon

o   Melons

o   Gourds

  • Solanaceous. It includes many common garden vegetables although the part of the plant usually eaten is the fruit (the potato is an exception – here the underground tuber is eaten.) It is better grown in summer or hotter regions. It has deep roots but can be grown in bigger pots. It requires trellis. Here are some example of solanaceous:

o   Tomato

o   Pepper

o   Eggplant

o   Potato

  • Root Crops. These are crops that produce edible and enlarge roots or stem. It has deep roots and requires sandy-loam soil. Minimum of 12 inch-deep plots but can be grown in bigger pots. Full sunlight is required and it is direct seeding. Here are some example of root crops:

o   Carrot

o   Radish

o   Turnip

o   Beet

o   Sweet Potato

  • Legumes. These are the bean and pea family. These crops require trellis and very minimal organic input is required. It can be intercropped with other smaller plants. It is green manure.
  • Crucifers. These are vegetables belonging to the brassica family such as cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli.
  • Herbs. These are plants with savory or aromatic properties that are used for flavoring food, in medicine, or as fragrances. It can be planted in pots and can tolerate partly shaded areas. Here are some of the herbs:

o   Parsley

o   Basil

o   Rosemary

o   Mint

o   Thyme

o   Tarragon

o   Chives

Crop Production Processes

Seedling

Characteristics of a good seedling medium

  • Porous enough to provide good air circulation and root development
  • Rich in plant nutrients
  • Pathogen-free
  • Has good water holding capacity
  • Have a lot of microbial activity to keep plants healthy, robust and higher resistance from pests and diseases.

Seedling medium

  • Composed of vermicast/vermicompost and carbonized rice hull mix thoroughly.
  • Ratio is 1:1

Seed Sowing

  • Sowing seeds in seedling trays or seedling cups is recommended to protect seeds from predators like ants or birds.
  • Seedlings in trays and cups are also protected from stress during transplanting.

Seed Sowing Procedures

  • Fill the tray with seedling medium
  • Punch holes using an empty tray
  • Sow seeds, one per hole
  • Cover the holes by leveling the medium
  • Water the seeds with diluted EMAS
  • Apply markings

Land Preparation

A set of procedures done to make the soil conducive for planting.

  • Weeding and debris clearing
  • Cultivating
  • Pulverizing
  • Plot forming
  • Organic matter application
  • Mulching

Plot Dimension

  • Width: 1 meter
  • Length: 10 meters
  • Distance between plots: 30 cm

Organic Matter Application

Surface Application. Apply organic matter at a rate of 100 grams per square meter.

Beneath the soil application. Make a canal at the middle of the plot and fill with organic matter. Make sure organic matter are scattered evenly. Sprinkle EMAS and cover with soil.

Mulching. The process of covering the topsoil with plant material such as leaves, grass, twigs, crop residues or straw. Mulching helps create a soil structure with plenty of smaller and larger pores through which rainwater can easily infiltrate into the soil, thus reducing surface runoff. As the mulch material decomposes, it increases the content of organic matter in the soil. Soil organic matter helps create a good soil with stable crumb structure.

Application of mulch.

  • If the layer of mulch is not too thick, seeds or seedlings can be directly sown or planted in between the mulching material.
  • On vegetable plots, it is best to apply mulch only after the young plants have become somewhat hardier, as they may be harmed by the products of decomposition from fresh mulch material.
  • If mulch is applied prior to sowing or planting, the mulch layer should not be too thick in order to allow seedlings to penetrate it and wait for two (2) weeks before transplanting.
  • Mulch can also be applied in established crops, best directly after digging the soil. It can be applied between the rows, directly around single plants or evenly spread on the field.
  • The process of planting the seedlings from the nursery to the field.
  • Rule of Thumb: Seedlings should have 2-3 true leaves before transplanting
  • Drench with EMAS after transplanting watering only the root system.

Maintenance

  • Spray a cocktail of concoctions twice a week
  • Side dress bokashi once every two weeks after transplanting at a rate of 100 grams per square meter.
  • Maintain safe distance of 5-6 inches between bokashi and the stem of plants.

Pest Management

Organic pest management involves the adaptation of scientifically based and ecologically sound strategies that follow the standards set for organic agriculture.

Build Soil Health

  • Good plant nutrition is the key to prevention of plant diseases
  • Improving soil health enables plants to grow well and develop tolerance or resistance to pests and pathogens.

Agro biodiversity

  • Crop Rotation. This involves planting different crop type in sequence on the same piece of land. The system breaks the life cycle of pests.
  • Mixed Cropping. This involves planting several different crop types in one unit area. The idea is one crop can help other crop repel their own pests.
  • Trap cropping. Takes advantage of the fact that certain plants are more preferred by other pests over another.

Sanitation

  • Refers to removal of breeding sites, food sources and alternate host plants where pests can thrive.
  • Remove damaged fruits, shoots and leaves immediately and make sure not to throw damaged plant parts within the farm so as not to infect other plants.
  • It also includes handpicking the insect pests, larva and egg mass usually found in the underside of the leaves.

Physical Barriers

  • Net bagging
  • Net tunnel

Other Methods

  • Yellow sticky traps
  • Mulching

From: ATIng Gulayan Seminar, Agricultural Training Institute, Philippines

How to Make Organic Fertilizers: Compost, Vermicompost, Bokashi, FPJ, FFJ, FAA

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Organic fertilizers refer to any product in solid or liquid form of plant or animal origin that has undergone substantial decomposition that can supply available nutrients to plants.

Composting

It is a process which allows a mixture of organic raw materials to decompose under controlled conditions to produce a stable end-product which is the organic fertilizer or soil conditioner.

Composting Process

  • Select a shaded area that will provide protection from heavy rains which will cause excessive wetting and subsequent washing away of nutrients.
  • Gather raw materials and pile up in alternate layers.

Layer1: Livestock manure

Layer 2: Plant residues

Layer 3: Livestock manure

Layer 4: Plant residues

Layer 5: Livestock manure

  • Water every layer with EMAS to enhance the composting process. Dilution rate: 20ml EMAS for every liter of water.
  • Cover the pile to retain moisture and to build heat in the compost pile. This is important to build heat in the composst pile. This is important to kill disease-causing organisms and pathogens.
  • Turnover or mix the pile after one month to aerate the pile.
  • Mix the pile again 2 weeks after the first turning.
  • After 2 weeks, harvest and use the compost.

Vermicomposting

  • Another method of composting which makes use of earthworm.
  • Instead of manually turning the pile, earthworms, particularly African Night Crawler, are introduced in the pile to eat semi-decomposed raw materials.
  • The worms’ excreta is called “vermicast”.
  • It is normally found on the surface of the pile and looks like rough coffee ground.
  • Vermicompost is the remaining decomposed materials containing some of the vermicast, earthworm cocoons and small earthworms.

Guidelines: Site Selection

  • Area should be near the source of substrates or compost materials
  • It should not be prone to flooding
  • Accessible to water source
  • Shaded preferably with roofing

Guidelines: Bin Preparation

  • Use hollow or any barrier like fallen tree trunks, banana  trunks or bamboo to enclose a rectangular area.
  • Line the flooring with woven sack.

Guidelines: Raw Materials Selection

  • Select materials accordingly

o   Identify materials rich in nitrogen.

  • Animal manure except dog and cat
  • leguminous plants

o   Identify materials rich in carbon such as grass, corn stalks, rice straw, saw dust.

o   Farm waste, market waste, kitchen waste

  • Consider the size and kind of materials.

o   Small and shredded materials decompose easily

o   Choose materials that are easily composted like banana leaves, stalks and vegetable or fruit peelings.

  • Remove unwanted materials

o   Meat scraps

o   Fats, oil and grease

o   Human waste

o   Dog and cat waste

o   Diseased plants

Guidelines: Substrate Preparation

  • Place substrate in alternate layers

o   Layer 1: Livestock manure

o   Layer 2: Plant residues

o   Layer 3: Livestock manure

o   Layer 4: Plant residues

o   Layer 5: Livestock manure

  • Water every layer with EMAS to enhance the composting process. Dilution rate: 20ml EMAS for every liter of water.
  • Cover the pile to retain moisture and to build heat in the compost pile and leave for 2 weeks. This is important to kill disease causing organism or pathogens.

Guidelines: Deploying Worms

  • After 2 weeks, place worm in the semi-decomposed substrate at a ratio of 1 kg per square meter and cover with net or leaves.
  • Prevent the substrate from drying up. Water whenever necessary.
  • Protect worms from natural predators.

Guidelines: Harvesting

  • Harvesting is subject to the size of the bin, quantity of worms, kind of materials and maintenance of substrate. On an average, 30 – 40 days after placing the worms in the bin, you will observe vermicast forming on the top layer.
  • Harvesting methods:

o   Manual pick. Pick the worms by hand and transfer to new worm bed.

o   Migration. Move the contents of the whole bed to one side. Fill the empty half with new substrate. Worms will move freely to the new feed. Harvest the castings left by the worms.

o   Top harvest. Scrape from the top of bed.

  • Air dry for 2 days
  • Strain the vermicompost to separate remaining substrate.

Guidelines: Production Sustainability

  • On the day when the worms are placed in the first bin, prepare a new substrate and place on the second bin.
  • One the last day of harvesting from the first bin, the worms can be transferred to the second bin.
  • With this scheme, there will be a continuous supply and the number of worms increases.

Bokashi

An organic fertilizer that makes use of microbial inoculant to hasten the decomposition of animal manure mixed with other solid ingredients.

Materials

  • Solid ingredients

o   Carbon materials (80% of the total volume)

  • Rice bran (darak)
  • Rice husk (ipa)
  • Chopped rice straw (dayami)
  • Corn stalk (catawan ng mais)

o   Nitrogen materials (20% of the total volume)

  • Copra meal
  • Fish meal
  • Ipil ipil
  • Kakawate
  • Liquid Ingredients

o   EMAS

o   Molasses

o   Water

Recommended Mix

  • D3 (Gaspang) – 10 kilo
  • Carbonized rice hull – 10 kilo
  • Copra meal – 5 kilo
  • EMAS – 100 ml
  • Molasses – 100ml
  • Water – 10 liter

Procedures

  • Dilute EMAS and molasses in water.
  • Mix all the solid ingredients in watering with the diluted solution until fully mixed.
  • Check for 30% – 40% moisture content.
  • Place in an airtight container and ferment for 2-3 weeks.
  • Bokashi is ready to use when it has a sweet-sour fermented smell.

Usage

  • Feed additive for poultry and livestock
  • Soil fertilizer
  • Composting Agent
  • Treatment of kitchen garbage
  • Key ingredient to mud balls for the treatment of pond, lakes, rivers, sewage systems
  • Treatment of manures

Fermented Plant Juice (growth enhancer)

Materials

  • Fresh plants (20%  of container volume)

o   Kangkong

o   Leguminous plants

o   Grasses

o   Herbs

o   Young shoots

o   Banana stalks

  • Water (70% of container volume)
  • EMAS (3% of water volume)
  • Molasses (3% of water volume)

Recommended Mix

Based on a 20-liter container

  • Fresh plants – 2 kilos
  • Water – 14 liters
  • EMAS – 420 ml
  • Molasses – 420 ml

Procedures

  • Clean and wash palnts. Drain for 5 minutes
  • Chop raw materials and place inside a net.
  • Add EMAS and molasses into the water.
  • Dip the net with the chopped materials into the liquid solution.
  • Lay a nylon screen on top and place stones to prevent the net from floating.
  • Cover the pail tightly and apply markings.
  • Ferment for 7 days.

Points of consideration

  • Properly fermented FPJ has a sweet-sour smell and a light brown color.
  • Plants used will turn into brown.
  • After fermentation, strain the concoction and keep in air-tight container
  • Store in a dark, cool place.
  • Shelf-life is 3 months.

Usage

  • Dilute 10ml of FPJ per liter of water to be used for drenching or spraying.
  • Diluted FPJ should be used within the day
  • Apply twice a week.

Fermented Fruit Juice

Materials

  • Fresh fruits such as banana fruit, papaya, squash
  • Molasses
  • EMAS

Recommended mix

  • Banana fruit – 1 kilo
  • Papaya – 1 kilo
  • Squash – 1 kilo
  • Molasses – 3 kilos
  • EMAS – 60 ml

Procedures

  • Clean and wash fruits. Drain for 5 minutes.
  • Slice fruits to an inch size.
  • Mix fruits thoroughly in a plastic pail.
  • Mix EMAS and molasses with fruits thoroughly.
  • Lay a nylon screen on top and place stones to present the net from floating.
  • Cover the pail tightly and apply markings.
  • Ferment for 7 days

Points of Consideration

  • Properly fermented FFJ has a sweet-sour smell and a light brown color.
  • After fermentation, strain the concoction and keep in air-tight container.
  • Store in a dark, cool place
  • Shelf-life is 3 months

Usage

  • Dilute 10 ml of FFJ per liter of water to be used for drenching or spraying
  • Diluted FFJ should be used within the day
  • Apply twice a week.

Fish Amino Acid (Protein Supplement)

Materials

  • Fresh fish, fish scraps, gills or innards
  • Molasses
  • EMAS

Recommended Mix

  • Fish/fish parts – 3 kilos
  • Molasses – 3 kilos
  • EMAS – 60 ml

Procedures

  • Clean and wash fish and fish parts. Drain for 5 minutes
  • Slice to an inch size.
  • Mix all parts thoroughly in a plastic pail.
  • Mix EMAS and molasses with fish and fish parts
  • Lay a nylon screen on top and place stones to prevent the net from floating.
  • Cover the pail tightly and apply markings
  • Ferment for 15 days.

Points of consideration

  • Properly fermented FAA has a sweet-hour smell.
  • After fermentation, strain the concoction and keep in air-tight container.
  • Store in a dark, cool place.
  • Shelf-life is 3 months.

Usage

  • Dilute 10ml of FAA per liter of water to be used for drenching or spraying.
  • Diluted FFJ should be used within the day.
  • Apply twice a week.

Organic Fertilizers and Concoctions: Effective Microorganism (EM-1)

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What is Effective Microorganism (EM-1)?

Effective Microorganism (EM-1) is a microbial inoculant that uses beneficial microbes to promote soil and plant health.

Microbial Inoculant. These are biologically active products containing an optimum amount of population of one or a combination of active strains of beneficial bacteria, algae or fungi that are useful in different biological activities such as decomposition or organic residues, nitrogen fixation and enhancement of nutrient availability to plants.

EM Activated Solution (EMAS)

  • Extended form of EM-1
  • Use the same way as EM-1
  • Cheaper compared to EM-1
  • Mixed in the drinking water of farm animals and for watering plants to improve their immune system
  • Also used as a spray to farm animals to remove the foul odor.
  • Source of beneficial microorganisms used for making organic fertilizers faster, better potency and no fould odor

Materials for Making EMAS

  1. EM-1 (Genuine)
  2. Molasses (Clean and uncontaminated)
  3. Non-Chlorinated water
  4. Plastic container with cap

Proportion

  • EM-1 – 5%
  • Molasses – 5%
  • Non-chlorinated water – 90%
  • For 1 liter: 900 ml water, 50ml molasses, and 50ml EM-1

Fermantation:

Fermantion is 7 days.

  • Place container in a cool and shaded area.
  • Loosen cap everyday to release gas formed inside the container during the fermentation period.

Points to consider

  1. Good quality and properly fermented EMAS has a sweet and sour smell and light brown color
  2. The shelf life of EMAS is one (1) month
  3. EMAS can still be diluted with water to maximize usage and consumption
  4. Diluted EMAS is good for one (1) day only

Usage: PLANTS

  1. Dilute 1 tablesppon of EMAS with 1 liter of non-chlorinated water.
  2. Spray or water to plants once or twice a week in the morning or in the afternoon

Usage: ANIMALS

  1. Dilute 1 tablespoon of EMAS with 1 liter of non-chlorinated water.
  2. Spray inside and outside the pen once or twice a week to remove foul odoor
  3. It can also be used for bathing farm animals like pigs to remove the foul odor.
  4. It can also be used as drinking water to prevent illnesses.

DA CALLS OUT APPLICANTS FOR ACEF SCHOLARSHIP

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Students who plan to take courses on agriculture, fisheries, forestry or veterinary medicine can now apply for a scholarship program of the Department of Agriculture (DA).

Under DA’s Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF), high school students or graduates can now submit their application forms through the Regional Scholarship Coordinators, State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) or Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).

In reference to RA 10848 or the ACEF Extension Law, this ACEF Grants-In-Aid for Higher Education Program (ACEF-GIAHEP) directs the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to implement a comprehensive and attractive scholarship program for agriculture, forestry, fisheries and veterinary medicine education.

According to Julie Delima, Western Visayas ACEF coordinator, the application is open until February 23.

“We will send the application forms and list of requirements to the different SUCs in the region. We hope to produce more number of ACEF scholars this coming academic year,” said Delima.

Based on the guidelines released by the Office of Undersecretary for Special Concerns Atty. Ranibai Dilangalen, a maximum of 10 scholars is allocated per campus.

Under ACEF-GIAHEP, a qualified scholar shall receive a subsidy for Tuition and Other School Fees (TOSF) of P15,000 per year and a stipend amounting P2,500 every month. During summer classes, a grantee shall also receive TOSF subsidy of P3,500 and a stipend of P5,000 for two months.

Delima added that a scholar shall also be given P15,000 grant for the conduct of Thesis and P3,000 as On-the-Job Training allowance.

TOSF and stipends shall be released on a semestral or trimestral basis for fund transfer to the CHED.

Graduating high school students, high school graduates, with earned units in college or passers of the Alternative Learning System (ALS) can qualify for this grants-in-aid program.

“Those who will enrol or currently enrolled in agriculture, fisheries, forestry or veterinary medicine courses in HEI authorized schools can avail of this ACEF scholarship program. Also, the combined annual gross income of scholar’s parents or guardians shall not exceed P300,000,” Delima explained.

Delima furthered that ACEF scholars who will graduate with distinctions will be given cash incentives of P15,000 for Summa Cum Laude, P10,000 for Magna Cum Laude and P5,000 for Cum Laude graduates.

As part of the guidelines, ACEF scholars will also be given employment opportunities in DA or in its attached bureaus and line agencies.

“The average age of Filipino farmers is 57 years old. Through this scholarship program, we aim to encourage the youths to go into agriculture studies in order to develop the sector,” Delima continued.

Those who are interested to apply are advised to secure the standard application form and the list of requirements at the DA Regional Field Office 6 in Iloilo City or call (033) 337-9092/ 09195772346, or email dapmed6@yahoo.com. # (Sheila Mae H. Toreno/DA 6 Information)

Aani Agri-Kapihan with Agri-Bazaar 2018

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The AANI or Agri Aqua Network International invites everybody to join them on their 2018 Aani Agri Kapihan Agri Bazaar. The event will be held at the Planas Garden, Quezon Memorial Circle, Quezon city on January 19-21, 2018.

The following are the activities:

January 19

Topic #1: MUSHROOM PRODUCTION

Time: 9:00-12noon
BY: MR. JEAN AGRON

Topic #2: UPGRADE ABOUT DRIP IRRIGATION BY: MR.GREG DELOS TRINOS

Time:  1:00PM-3:00PM

Topic #3: RICEHULL (IPA) “An alternative fuel for cooking” By : MR. ALGENE RAMOS

January 20, 2018

Topic #1: ORGANIC FARMING USING HATAKE BY: MR. RAFFY LEDESMA
(SATURDAY)

Time: 8:00 – 10:00am

Topic # 2 SPIRULINA GROWING & BY: MS. PAT & VAL PUENTE

Topic # 3

HEALTHBENEFITS
1:00PM-3:00PM

Tooic # 4:

BASIC SETUP OF SNAP HYDROPONICS BY: MR. RICHARD BERNARDO
3:00PM -5:00PM

Topic #5 RABBIT PRODUCTION BY: MR. ART VENERACION

January 21, 2018

(SUNDAY) 9:00AM-12:00NN ALL ABOUT MANGO BY: MR. TONY ROLA

1:00 PM – 3:00PM DIFFERENT AGRI-BUSINESS BY: MR. DANNY RICOHERMOSO

OPPORTUNITIES
3:00PM -5:00PM

CONTAINERGARDENING BY: DR. ED PANINGBATAN

For more information call 02-4750134 / 09177950916

Homemade Fungicides

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There’s a lot of things that we can do at home to work as a fungicide o our plants. We begin to see fungal problems when brown spots appears on the leaves of our plants. That is the beginning of the disease. That will turn color yellow soon and it has spores that will spread all over the plant.

So how can we deal with this fungus?

Manual removal of leaves

We can manually remove all these infected leaves as many as possible. It will stop the spores from spreading everywhere.

Mulching

Another solution is to mulch the soil. Pick up the fallen leaves and go ahead mulch the soil underneath that because some of the spores are there too. This is to prevent the spores from returning to the plant.

Aspirin

A bit of aspirin may be very useful against fungus. Aspirin is a source of acetylsalicylic acid which builds up resistance in the plants. You may use them every two to three weeks for the plants.

Baking Soda

Another solution is to use some of your kitchen ingredients, the baking soda. Baking soda is a good fungicide. To use baking soda as fungicide, take 1 tablespoon of the baking soda, 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil, or a bit of mild soap and thoroughly mix these ingredients in 1 gallon of water. This will control black spot, white powdery mildew and other fungal problems.

Garlic

Garlic is another solution against fungal diseases. This is a well-known one from the past. What you do is you use the different cloves, we’ll take them apart, and you’ll smash them up really well, and then you’ll use the whole bulb. Put them in the water and let it soak for a while. Give it a good soaking. Then when you’re ready to use it, you’ll go ahead and put it through a strainer and then into the sprayer. It does a very good job of controlling diseases.

Hydrogen Peroxide

This is another thing that you can find in your house. It is usually used to clean our wounds but it plays a lot of roles in the organic garden. And so it is a very good disease fighter. When you spray it to your plant, it begins to control any of the diseases before they get started. Use 8 oz to 1 gallon of water. One of the things about using hydrogen peroxide is you need to be very careful with it. This could burn the plants. You need to be conservative when you use something like the hydrogen peroxide.

Milk

Did you know that milk is a great fungicide also? You can control your diseases easily by spraying the milk on the affected leaves. Use 1 cup of milk in 9 cups of water then use it to spray on your plants. This will prevent powdery mildew on your grapes, squash, and melon. You can also use this spray to clean your tools to remove some diseases on your tools and it was found to be more effective than some other chemical controls.

When you follow the directions for all of these solutions, you will get the beneficial effects.

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