Last week, I wrote on my Apiary blog regarding the genetics of honey bees. I thought that this week I should broaden it up here on the farm site. Continue reading
Diurnal and Nocturnal Flowering
Individual flowers species bloom at different times. Hypochoeris radicata (False Dandelion) is a diurnal plant (blooms during the daytime) while Oenothera biennis (Common Evening Primrose) is nocturnal, and only blooms at night.
What causes or controls these different bloom periods? Continue reading
Understanding Euler’s Identity and Natural Logs
The mathematical models of plant growth are extremely complex. As farmers, We spend a good deal of time looking at growth rates of plants over time, the decay of certain elemental components in soils, rise of microbial populations, and countless other biological growth and decay models.
The most powerful tool at the farmers disposal to use in making informed decisions is the Natural log or .
Ash as a soil amendment
Fire ecology is the study of fire and specific ecosystems. Many plant species require fire in order to germinate or reproduce. Fire is an essential part of the ecosystem in coniferous forests, savannahs, and many other regions. There is another benefit to these regions other than regeneration. That is the impact of the ash on the soil. The ash benefits the soil with added nutrients, it buffers the pH of the soil, and it increases the population of soil microbes. Continue reading
Grower Degree Days and Crop Heat Units
Crop Heat Units (CHU), Grower Degree Days (GDD), or Thermal Time are all measures of heat units we use to measure physiological events in the life of plants and animals. These units can predict the leaf stages of corn, flowering of Cucurbits, and even when an insect will emerge from dormancy. Continue reading
Loose Smut – Barley
We are growing Barley this year. One major fungal issue with Barley is Loose Smut. It comes from the fungus Ustilago nuda, and can wipe out barley crops.
The fungus replaces the entire grain heads with a mass of black or brown fungal spores. There are no seeds to be harvested on these heads. You can usually pick these infected plants out because they are taller and mature faster than the rest of the field. The teliospores get transmitted to other grain heads where they infect the seeds through the flowering stigma, or directly through the ovaries. These teliospores give rise to basidiospores. These basidiospores germinate, and the mycelia invade the developing embryo in the seed. The fungus stays alive inside the seed until next season. Continue reading
Pea Aphids – Acyrthosiphon pisum
Anyone who has grown anything has at one time or another come in contact with some type of Aphid. There are over 4,400 species of Aphids worldwide, and are affectionately termed “plant lice”. Pea Aphids attack forage crops such as Peas, Alfalfa, and Clovers. They can take out a crop within a series of weeks due to their rapid expansion. Continue reading
Tobacco decoctions are a natural and effective pesticide. unlike the synthetic neonicotinoids that kill beneficial insects and pollinators, the half life of tobacco decoctions is only hours.
“This is very effective for controlling aphids and other soft-bodied insects infesting vegetable crops.
- Tobacco decoction can be prepared by steeping 500 g of tobacco waste in 4.5 litres of water for 24 hours.
- Dissolve 120 g of ordinary bar soap separately in another vessel.
- The soap solution is added to tobacco decoction under violent agitation.
- Dilute this stock solution 6-7 times before spraying.”
Source: Tobacco decoction
Growing Garlic in Texas
Last month, I gave a presentation regarding growing garlic to the Cypress Basin Master Gardeners in Mt. Pleasant, Texas. Attached are the slides from that presentation. I hope you find this helpful. Should you have any questions, please feel free to comment or message me.