Blog Highlights 8/27/12 to 8/31/12

Take a look at the highlights from Nourish The Planet and around the web this week: Farming Among the Waste in Cameroon – In Cameroon, where rains have been scarce, farming in urban environments using waste water has become popular despite health risks. From Katrina to Isaac – How Much Has Hurricane Forecasting Improved? – A look at the technological advances that have happened since Hurricane Katrina along with input from several hurricane experts! Arctic Sea Ice – a Clear Warning – Jon Taylor from the Huffington Post gives us his view on why this summer’s massive Arctic Sea ice loss should be a major warning to us about global warming. China Surpasses US to Become Number One in Wind Power – China has truly embraced wind power and has now out paced the U.S. as the world’s number 1 producer! Video: America Revealed: Cow Power – In our continuing video series, this segment shows us how excess cow manure is being turned into electricity. All while reining in greenhouse gas outputs! What Will It Take? – John M. Broder of The New York Times asks “What will it take for climate change to get on the political radar?” New Ocean Scorecard Gives World a 60% – A breakdown of how we as a population are doing for our ocean’s ability to benefit both nature and people. Texans Using Guns to Resist Smart Meter Installations – Finally, Texans method to ward off Smart Meter technology. Be sure to check back next week and have a happy Friday from everyone here at Nourish The Planet! -Savannah...

Tomato Plant Types

I have really been enjoying my time interning at Nourish the Planet. After starting a few weeks ago, I’ve learned so much and have had so many ideas pop up in my head I thought it would be a good idea to start putting some of them down and keep a record of my learning experiences. I’ve become confident in completing most daily monitoring tasks on my own, especially water quality and daily checks for the aquaponics systems. As well as the aquaculture systems, making sure they are all functioning properly, and harvesting fodder. Over the weekend we worked on tidying up the place a bit by pulling weeds and basically going through things and organizing them. I also worked on the tomatoes, and pruned them in hopes that it will result in more healthy plants and prosperous fruit. I learned how to properly prune a tomato plant, and the difference between determinate and indeterminate tomatoes Determinate varieties of tomatoes, also called “bush” tomatoes, are varieties that are bred to grow to a compact height (approx. 4 feet). They stop growing when fruit sets on the terminal or top bud, and ripen all their crop at or near the same time (usually over a 2 week period), and then die. They may require a limited amount of caging and/or staking for support, should NOT be pruned or “suckered” as it severely reduces the crop, and will perform relatively well in a container (minimum size of 5-6 gallon). Examples are: Rutgers, Roma, Celebrity (called a semi-determinate by some), and Marglobe. Indeterminate varieties of tomatoes are also called “vining” tomatoes. They...

Plant Pests and Disease

This is the first blog installment from Sean Brady, Supervisor of Sustainable Agriculture at Nourish the Planet. Today’s topic is disease control in a greenhouse environment.  As the weather here in Colorado has shifted from intense heat to wetter and cooler days we are seeing resurgence in some disease populations. The long heat wave we are experiencing has caused our plants to become stressed, in turn making them vulnerable to pests and disease that they would normally fight off on their own. Our newest nuisance, powdery mildew, comes as a result of heavy afternoon rains causing increased humidity around the greenhouses.  Powdery Mildew is a fungus that attacks the succulent tissue of many plant species. Infected plants display white powdery spots on the leaves and stems with the characteristic powdery appearance. When treating this problem in an aquaponics system, we need to be careful to choose a solution that will eliminate the problem without causing harm to our fish population. In this case we are using two different methods. First is our diluted milk spray, consisting of 1 part water to 9 parts milk. Our second is just a simple spray of hydrogen peroxide. Both of these solutions are applied by spray applicator to our crops with more focus on affected leaves and stems. When spraying anything over your crops be sure to get it done before the sun is too high, water on the leaves can cause burning or worsen the mildew problem if it does not dry before the evening. Results should be seen with 1 – 2 weeks. We are already seeing improvement after just 4...

Headlines 8/8/12

Here’s this week’s headline round up.  It’s a great selection of everything from overpopulation doom to mini-indoor aquaponics.  Enjoy! The Implications of Overpopulation are Terrifying:  “…the demand for food will have doubled by 2050; food production already accounts for 30% of greenhouse gases – more than manufacturing or transport; more food needs more land, especially when the food is meat; more fields mean fewer forests, which means even more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which means an even less stable climate, which means less reliable agriculture – witness the present grain crisis in the US…” The Hunger Wars in our Future:  “Food — affordable food — is essential to human survival and well-being. Take that away, and people become anxious, desperate, and angry.”  This is one of several articles I’ve come across that forecasts an increase in global instability as a result of our current drought. Food Supply Shock:  “Haugerud… thinks this year’s drought simply accelerated a situation that was already growing quite serious… ‘We’re hitting a wall on productivity gains,” she says, “everything from irrigation to fertilization to genetic engineering.”  Unless there’s a meaningful development, “Food could be the new distressed asset,” she says. And in the near term, “there’s no reason that corn can’t trade $10,” she says.” Colleges See Higher Demand for Degrees in Ag:  I thought this was interesting, especially in light of the above links. Beverage Companies Pay Millions to Conserve Water:  “If there’s not fresh water, there’s no business — it’s just that simple,” said Laura Huffman, state director of the Nature Conservancy in Texas. “It is their number one infrastructure concern. … Water...

Acts of Sustainable Charity from a 24 Year Old Farmer in Ukraine

Last year in Ukraine a young farmer made a donation for the Kid’s Charity sending seeds to grow vegetables. Ruslan got attached to plants since school. At the age of 13 he got attention of some local newspapers for his passion and interest in plants. His favorite plant was the tomato and remains so today. He has 250 different varieties of tomatoes in his garden, which also includes rare and exotic types of cucumbers, melons, strawberry, spinach and much more. Ruslan says “Nowadays not all the kindergartens and orphanages in the post-Soviet Union countries can afford buying seeds or growing fruits and vegetables for their kids but they have a piece of land” therefore this young farmer is willing to help. He is ready to send seeds to any kids’ organization that is really willing to grow food for the orphans or kids with disabilities. It is great for kids too because they can help and be a part of the learning and growing process. This way kids’ organization can feed their kids with healthy food over the summer and for the winter they can preserve their fruits and vegetables. “Moreover it is nice to eat your own fresh and organic vegetables and fruits” says Ruslan. Hopefully there will be some people inspired by this young farmer and follow his example. References: http://www.doohoff.com/ob_avtore.html http://masterica.io.ua/s113852 Written by Anastassiya Zherdeva, Business Development Intern, Summer...

Headlines 7.11.12

Here are this week’s headlines, enjoy! Happy World Population Day! – Every hour, the world population increases by about 9,100 people. At that rate, it would take less than six hours to fill up Yankee Stadium. Has Organic Been Oversized? – Here’s a telling excerpt from this article – the term “organic” means nothing anymore; it no longer speaks to small-scale, earth friendly farms, or wholesome veggies.  Today, the term “organic” has been co-opted by huge corporations to help sell unhealthy processed crap at higher prices to brainwashed customers.  “Many consumers may not realize the extent to which giant corporations have come to dominate organic food. Then again, giant corporations don’t exactly trumpet their role in the industry. Their financial motivation, however, is obvious. On Amazon.com, for instance, 12 six-ounce boxes of Kraft Organic Macaroni and Cheese sell for $25.32, while a dozen 7.25-ounce boxes of the company’s regular Macaroni and Cheese go for $19.64.” What’s a great way to combat invasive species?  EAT THEM.  If you’re in Chicago, please go eat some free Asian Carp at Taste of Chicago for me! Extinct Honeybees Found Alive – The black honeybee is native to the UK and Eastern Central Europe, although it was thought to have died out in all but the most remote reaches of northern Britain. Happily, it was recently found in North Wales, East Anglia, and as far south as West Sussex. As Farms Bite the Dust, Worry of Megadrought in the Southwest – Periodic, decades-long droughts have been relatively common in the last few thousand years, according to analysis of dried lake beds. Most of the area’s...