Tag Archives: agriculture

Considering Nopales for Arid Land Specialty Crops

Nopales, or Prickly Pear cactus, include numerous species of the genus Opuntia which thrive in poor soils and arid lands. These cacti can be grown and harvested for their tunas, or fruit, and for their pads.  They thrive in deeper, well drained soils, and can tolerate pH levels as high as 7.8.   California researchers have investigated the use of Nopales as ...

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Can Global Warming Reduce Nutrition?

According to a recent report in Science Advances (summarized in the Vox) increased atmospheric CO2, a key feature in global warming, can result in reduced crop nutrition.  They demonstrated this effect using rice, a staple crop that feeds much of the world.  This would seem threatening, since poor crop nutrition impacts food webs all the way from the soil to the plate.  Human ...

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Opportunities for Extension in the Private Sector

Are You Aspiring Towards A Career in Extension? If your heart is set on working in the public sector, this article is not for you.  Please move on.  However, if you are finding public options too limited, you may want to explore opportunities that allow more time for your family, provide a more flexible work schedule, or allow you more ...

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Why Is Living Soil a Disruptive Innovation?

We know soil is alive.  Why do we treat it like dirt? The first lesson in the first soils class I ever took covered what soil is made of.  We learned soil contains minerals, air, water, organic matter, and “critters”.  Yes.  That’s right.  Critters.  All those little squirmy, wiggly things that live underground.  Bacteria.  Fungi.  Worms.  Insects. Those living things ...

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Cultivating Food Security with Farmer-&-Consumer Networks

Consumers Need to Know Where Their Food Comes From Throughout the years I’ve been involved in agrisciences, I’ve had many occasions to interact with farmers, ranchers, and other producers who ensure we have food on our table.  As long ago as I can remember, these farmers and ranchers have expressed concerns that people simply don’t understand where their food comes from, or ...

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The Johnson-Su Bioreactor Enriches Beneficial Soil Fungi

Stop Turning Your Compost Composting offers a terrific way to culture native microbes that benefit your soil. However, there is more to a good compost than simply building a pile of manure or and yard waste. Proper aeration is important to prevent overheating and to ensure that aerobic microbes dominate the mixture. This is why many large scale composting facilities ...

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Humic Acids and Lignins: Prebiotics for Soil

Humic Acids and Lignins are like Prebiotics for Soil

Every grower knows beneficial microbes like rhizobia and mycorrhizal fungi can help plants produce strong, resistant, and resilient crops.  Many growers know that having the right microbes in the soil can reduce or eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides.  Far too many growers have fallen for the “bug-in-a-jug,” spending various sums of money on biofertilizers only to see ...

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What Exactly is a Biological Soil Crust?

Soil Crusts are Tiny Communities that Can Help You Build Healthy Soil Did you ever walk out in the desert following a rainstorm?  If so, you may have noticed a thin black or green layer  on the surface of the soil.   Of course. you may have noticed a sprinkling of dry, black powder on the soil surface on a sunny day too, ...

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Chemical Dependency Starts in the Soil

Chemical dependence begins in the soil where our food is grown. Chemical Dependency Is About So Much More Than Recreational Drugs Growing up on the edge of Generation X, I learned early on about the most universally recognized forms of chemical dependency.  In our community, we were exposed to a number of people who drank too much, smoked too much, or ...

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