The Benefits of Organic Food

The Benefits of Organic Food

Healthy Eating
There is a Growing Body of Scientific Evidence on the Benefits of Organic Food Many people purchase organic food because they believe it is healthier than conventionally grown food. The organic industry is constantly told that there is no evidence to support these claims. This article looks at published information that shows that organic food is substantially healthier than conventional food. Research published in a 2001 study showed that the current fruit and vegetables in the United States have about half the vitamin content of their counterparts in 1963. The study was based on a comparison of published USDA figures. A scientific study published in the Journal of Applied Nutrition in 1993 clearly showed that organic food is more nutritious than conventional food. Organically and conventionally grown apples, potatoes, pears,…
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Organic Fertilizers

Organic Fertilizers

Soil & Compost
When used in reference to fertilizers, the word organic generally means that the nutrients contained in the product are derived solely from the remains or a by-product of an organism. Cottonseed meal, blood meal, fish emulsion, manure and sewage sludge are examples of organic fertilizers. Urea is a synthetic organic fertilizer, an organic substance manufactured from inorganic materials. When packaged as fertilizers, organic products have the fertilizer ratio stated on the package label. Some organic materials, particularly composted manures and sludges, are sold as soil conditioners and do not have a nutrient guarantee stated on the package, although small amounts of nutrients are present. Some organic fertilizers are high in one of the three major nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, or potash,) but low or zero in the other two. Some are…
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Winter Rye

Winter Rye

Soil & Compost
The hardiest of cereals, rye can be seeded later in fall than other cover crops and still provide considerable dry matter, an extensive soil-holding root system, significant reduction of nitrate leaching and exceptional weed suppression. Inexpensive and easy to establish, rye outperforms all other cover crops on infertile, sandy or acidic soil or on poorly prepared land. It is widely adapted, but grows best in cool, temperate zones. Taller and quicker-growing than wheat, rye can serve as a windbreak and trap snow or hold rainfall over winter. It overseeds readily into many high-value and agronomic crops and resumes growth quickly in spring, allowing timely killing by rolling, mowing or herbicides. Pair rye with a winter annual legume such as hairy vetch to offset rye’s tendency to tie up soil nitrogen…
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Oats

Oats

Soil & Compost
Oats are not particularly winter hardy. If you need a low-cost and reliable fall cover that winterkills in Hardiness Zone 6 and colder and much of Zone 7, oats is the cover crop for you. Spring-planted oats are used for green manure, while fall-planted oats provide winter-killed ground cover. The residue is incorporated before the early planting of vegetables. Oats are particularly useful in rotations with vegetable crops because they grow quickly and are easily killed. They are an excellent choice to mix with legumes, like hairy vetch and peas, for forage, erosion control and weed suppression. Oats are a wonderful nutrient catch cover crop. It takes up excess Nitrogen (N) and small amounts of Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K) when planted early enough. Late-summer plantings can absorb as much…
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Buckwheat

Buckwheat

Soil & Compost
Buckwheat is a fast-growing summer cover crop; a succulent that can be grown as a green manure because it adds nutrients and organic matter to the soil. It smothers weeds, protect the soil surface and provides habitat for pollinating and other beneficial insects. Buckwheat seed can germinate within days of planting, especially if the soil is warmer than 55 degrees. Because it doesn't require much water and tolerates poor fertility, buckwheat succeeds in many less than ideal places in the garden. Buckwheat does not like the shade or soggy soil. It improves the short-term condition of soil and readies it for planting. It is particularly efficient at taking up phosphorus from the soil and storing it in its tissues. Because it grows so fast, it is ideal for planting in…
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White Sweet Clover

White Sweet Clover

Soil & Compost
Sweet clovers (both white and yellow) are excellent soil-builders because they have a deep taproot that extends through the soil profile which takes up nutrients and minerals that can be used by crops. What is the difference between white (Melilotus alba) and yellow (Melilotus officinalis) sweet clovers? The biennial yellow sweet clover takes two years to produce a flowering plant. The first year, the yellow sweet clover grows in a rosette. After a vernalisation period it produces a shoot and flowers. It can produce up to 2.5 tons of dry matter and can grow up to 24 inches. If conditions are favorable, it can reach up to 8 feet in the second year. Below ground, its tap root can extend down 5 feet by the end of spring. White clover…
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Yellow Sweet Clover

Yellow Sweet Clover

Soil & Compost
Melilotus officinalis or Yellow Sweetclover was the king of green manures and grazing legumes in the South and later throughout the Midwest in the first half of this century. Sweetclover is used as a cover crop most commonly now in the Plains region. This cool-season biennial is an expert at mining insoluble minerals like potassium and phosphorus from the lower levels of the soil and bringing them to the surface. Its long tap root also helps loosen hard, packed soils. Says SARE... Within a single season on even marginally fertile soils, this tall-growing biennial produces abundant biomass and moderate amounts of nitrogen as it thrusts a taproot and branches deep into subsoil layers. Given fertile soils and a second season, it lives up to its full potential for nitrogen and…
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Hairy Vetch

Hairy Vetch

Soil & Compost
It is said that few legumes match Vicia villosa or "hairy vetch" for spring residue production or nitrogen contribution. Widely adapted and winter hardy through Hardiness Zone 4 and into Zone 3 (with snow cover), hairy vetch is a top nitrogen provider. The cover grows slowly in fall, but root development continues over winter. Growth quickens in spring, when hairy vetch becomes a sprawling vine up to 12 feet long. Height rarely exceeds 3 feet. Its abundant, viney vegetation can be a benefit and a challenge. The stand smothers spring weeds, however, and can help you replace all or most nitrogen fertilizer needs for late-planted crops. Hairy vetch ahead of no-till corn was also the preferred option for risk averse farmers in a three-year Maryland study that also included fallow…
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Crimson Clover

Crimson Clover

Uncategorized
Trifolium incarnatum, the botanical name for Crimson Clover means "blood red". Crimson clover is a cool-season annual (in southern states) that is relatively easy to grow and is more tolerant of poor soils than other clovers. A benefit of crimson clover is it is relatively inexpensive. It is less than half the price of perennial clovers, but quite productive. Crimson when plowed in after the spring, provides an excellent source of nitrogen for a summer planted crops. Requirements Soil: Loam, neutral, well-drained, adapts to soil of low fertility Climate: Any, but not winter hardy north of New Jersey Planting Per acre: 30 pounds Per 1000 square feet: 1 pound Seed Depth: 1/2 inch Season Sow: Fall or Spring Turn under: Spring or Fall See Also... Grow Your Own Nitrogen Green…
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Alsike Clover

Alsike Clover

Soil & Compost
Alsike clover is a nitrogen fixing legume from the Fabaceae family, the same as alfalfa, with the same ability to glean nitrogen from the air and store it in the roots, as most legumes are famous for. Alsike clover is rarely used as animal feed, as it grows close to the ground making it hard to harvest. Erosion control and cover crop is what this legume's is valued for. The roots are spreading and broad, holding soil in place while breaking up hard pan and clay soils. Requirements Soil: Heavy loam, tolerates poor drainage and acid soil Climate: Not adaptable to hot, humid climate Planting Per acre: 8 pounds Per 1000 square feet: 1/4 pound Seed Depth: 1/2 inch Season Sow: Spring or Fall Turn under: Fall or Spring See…
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