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XiteBio / 25.09.2012

Aside from irrigation, there is no sure way to avoid the impact of drought on crops. Irrigation is not always possible, however, so other management strategies must be used to try and reduce the effects. Minnesota Farm Guide recently interviewed Joe Pedretti of the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES), who offered several practices used by organic farmers that are designed to help maintain soil moisture during dry seasons. Cover crops: They increase soil organic matter while protecting the soil surface. Cover crops hold the soil surface together, which...

XiteBio / 31.07.2012

A record number of canola acres were seeded in Canada for the 6th straight year in 2012. The United States planted a record number of acres as well. Part of this increase in acreage is due to the relative newness of canola as a large-scale commercial crop. Plenty of opportunity remains for improved production, so growth should continue to take place. Looking beyond that, canola has a lot of potential as people continue to demand healthier foods and a healthier environment. Canola Oil: Canola oil is considered to be...

XiteBio / 17.07.2012

Soil bacteria are frequently studied in the context of soil health and soil-plant-microbe interactions. But one known plant growth promoting bacterium has beneficial effects outside of growth promotion. An innovative team at Northumbria University has found that Bacillus megaterium can be used to extend the life of concrete and even repair existing concrete. How this species of Bacillus is able to do this is remarkable. A nutrient- rich solution of the bacteria is   either mixed in with new concrete or applied over the surface of old concrete. The bacteria grow throughout...

XiteBio / 10.07.2012

Legumes can supply their own nitrogen, provided that appropriate species of Rhizobium bacteria are present. This allows legumes to produce greater yields without additional nitrogen and also helps succeeding crops in the rotation. Checking root nodules for nitrogen fixation is a straight forward process:  Wait 4-6 weeks after planting. It takes this long for nodules to form and nitrogen fixation to begin.  Dig out some of the root nodules attached to the roots.  Slice the root nodules in half. Check the colour of the interior of the root nodules. A pink colour means...