fertilizer experiment test

The test results from the fertilizer experiment of the peppers with and without plant-tone.

fertilized pepper: phosphorus was abundant and there was plenty of precipitate

Unfertilized pepper: Phosphorus was abundant and there was no precipitate

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Final Reflection..

The experience at the farm has been most refreshing. It’s so nice to be involved in growing your own food, something that is essential to living and a way of backtracking to a healthier lifestyle and a more sustainable Earth. I have enjoyed taking care of the plants and watching them grow. For me, farming in between other classes has been grounding and de-stressing and a way for me to feel more connected to my food because after caring for it and seeing it thrive in response, it now has a story. The crops benefit from us and in return we benefit from them. The farm quickly brought together a community aware of the importance of growing your own food. What I really loved about this class was how everyone there appeared to respond to it. The people involved in this farm were always nice and always calm while working to grow their crops and always helpful to other farmers. The best thing is seeing your crop, ready to be harvested and know that you have done a good job in raising it. I was only unhappy to witness some of the pests getting to our food – aphids, birds, and those squirrels, thought they weren’t a major problem. I was surprised at how quickly the plants grew. I learned more about companion planting, something I wasn’t all that familiar with as well as the process of taking cuttings and transplanting. I also learned more about pests, composting, and organic solutions. I would have liked to have learned more about the different uses for plants and more about their origins e.g., where and how do tomatoes grow naturally when not manually planted and cared for ? Urban farming, as bizarre and experimental as it is, has been an overall great experience !

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Save your seeds !

Must everything be dependent on the economy ? The modern domestication of food crops, has caused a decrease in plant hardiness, an increase in susceptibility to pests, and a need for human intervention. This human intervention largely results in harmful pesticides and genetic modification. When plants are treated with pesticides, they have no need to produce their own defense against pests. Naturally they produce various compounds such as polyphenols which contain anti-oxidants important to cancer prevention. Pesticide treated plants do not produce the same amount of polyphenols. Also, plants of industrial farming can also be grown in poor soil which deprives them of their nutritional needs, forcing those farmers to turn to chemical fertilizers, harmful to the plant and the Earth. Human evolution has come to profit from the connection between plants and pests. It’s  a dangerous business, altering nature. naturally, these plants and their pests live a cycle of balance. Today’s artificial farming has turned it into a cycle of profit, of taking and harming life. Genetic modification is the product of a few evil corporations. They own patents on genetically modified seeds, prohibiting seed saving. This threatens the security of our food and traditional farming system. Traditional people all over the world believe that seeds are a common good, to be given or traded, not used for sales. Commercialization of agriculture threatens to cease the customs of these good-natured people. Due to the lack of seed saving, the variety of foods has notably decreased and the quality of foods past their appearance has been completely overlooked. When a really good crop is grown and the seeds   from that crop aren’t collected, that crop becomes extinct, present only as a tantalizing memory of taste.  The control of the corporate world eliminates the diversity of food and their genetic stability. saving seeds acts as  a life affirming response to this diabolical mess. The diversity of modern varieties must be protected in order to maintain a genetic base for plant breeding. Saving seeds is a most powerful and ancient practice. The conservation of agricultural diversity puts farmers in control of political, economic and ecological aspects of the production of food and seeds. Plants and animals that forms the basis of sustainable agriculture have been protected by the help of evolving, participating communities. The link between us and our food has been severed. Let’s link the two together again.

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June 7th

It definitely looks like a farm ! Everything looks so big and green. We have been turning the compost, adding dried leaves to it, coffee, our compost from home and ripping everything up nice and small so that there is more room for the microorganisms to process it and today it is at 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

the ambient temperature for today is 80.9 degrees Fahrenheit.

the soil temperature is 72.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

the soil moisture is at 80.9 %

The heat of the past week seems to have helped everything along. The peppers don’t look sick anymore, the tomatoes are growing well. The gourds have germinated and everything is looking green, lush and tall !

We also covered up a wet hole in the walkway between the berms with grass and mulch. Now, we don’t have to hop over it every time we walk to our berm, and the birds don’t swim in it anymore. Here is what it looked like before. I will soon acquire an after photo.

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Three Sisters

There is a widespread tradition in Native American culture of planting corn, squash and beans (the three sisters) together, which is a form of companion planting. This is a sophisticated and sustainable system that has been thriving for generations, providing soil fertility and healthy diet. Accordingly, corn should not grow on it’s own, as it does on many farms today, but rather should be planted with it’s sister companions as they all benefit from each other.   In the Iroquois tradition, it is believed that corn, squash and beans are precious gifts sent from the Great Spirit an are each watched over by one of the three sisters spirits. They are refered to as De-o-ha-ko (our sustainers). Planting and harvesting is accompanied by ceremonies and ritual and this way has been passed down through generations.

Being planted together, the beans climb up the corn, using it as a pole and naturally, stabilizing the corn plant. preventing it from blowing over in the wind. Nitrogen is provided for the following year’s corn from the roots of the beans. While the shallow roots of the squash vines become natural mulch by preventing soil moisture from evaporating and applying shade to weeds. This helps the crops survive in dry years. Spiny squash plants act as a protector, keeping predators from nearing the corn and the beans. The residue of these crops is used as compost to rich-en the soil for the following year. The three sisters also provide complementing nutrition. carbohydrates from the corn, protein in dried beans, vitamins from the fruit of the squash and oil from it’s seeds.

Natives kept this system going naturally, judging readiness of soil and weather by signs from nature, rather than the modern experiments and calculations of today. The timing and seed spacing must also be just right, they cannot be planted all at once in the same mound.

information taken from: http://www.reneesgarden.com/articles/3sisters.html

We have now planted Three Sisters in the tail-end of the farm.

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May 27th

Today we harvested 4.2lbs of lettuce and 1.3lbs of spinach. We each got our share of the lettuce, and already having made a salad I can say that we have done well growing it ! It was hot ! We also checked the insect traps. We found 2 wire worms and 1 rove beetle. We spent a considerable amount of time removing aphids from the tomatoes, as tomatoes are quite leafy. We observed that the peppers had brown spots and the apple mint had rusty spots. We took off the rusty leaves. one cup of plant-tone was added to the radish. 1 small, black bee was spotted on the trellises of our berm.

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May 26th

70 degrees Fahrenheit. Our tomatoes have aphids..Yikes ! These guys are scary looking. There are over 1350 species of these pear-shaped insects who pierce the leaves and such huge amounts of plant sap. The plants which they attack become distorted. They excrete sweet honeydew onto the leaves which caused sooty mold. These aphids are herded by ants, much like we herd cows for milk. The ants herd them for their honeydew excretions. Well, these guys coming in, green, yellow, white and pink are all over our tomatoes. Our solution ? SOAP ! We washed them off with soapy water using a cotton round and then drowned them in the water. At first we used regular soap but it damaged the leaf so we got some organic soap later. We will have to keep removing the aphids each week.

4 cucumbers are growing, the strawberries are growing.

The unfertilized pepper is still looking sick and stands at 2.5″ while the fertilized one is at 3″ but looking a bit sick as well.

The chives, the carrots and the mesclun are growing well. I thinned the mesclun. The watermelon is growing and  I planted 4 gourds across from it. The good bug blooms are blooming.

2 small, yellow bees were spotted at the farm. A butterfly was also spotted.

We discussed how we can speed up the compost. The compost being the independent variable and the dependent being the temperature. What we came up with was adding coffee, browns, moisture, aeration and/or turning it

The PH today is at 7 – 7.5

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