We all need food to grow and prosper. Our doctors tell us that a balanced diet is one of the keys to a healthy life. So it should be no surprise that plants also need a nutritious diet! Natural plant systems like forests and prairies eat what Mother Nature provides by teaming up with a huge array of critters from bacteria to bugs to break down old detritus and soil into the essential components of their diet, like nitrate and carbon. Some have even evolved fantastic, mutually-beneficial arrangements with bacteria and fungi that allow them to pluck nitrogen from the air or move nutrients into the roots more efficiently! (more…)
Posts tagged ‘crop scouting’
Imagine those delicious tomatoes you just planted. You can already taste that juicy and tangy first bite! But not so fast; it’s not quite that simple. It’s June and three of your plants are mysteriously missing – cutworms! What are they? Where did they come from? The rest of your plants are hidden by a thicket of weeds. ‘I didn’t plant those!’ you think to yourself. It’s July and we are back on track. But wait. Half the leaves have been torn off, the rest are covered in brown spots—hornworms? The news says it’s early blight – how, why? So it goes on into fall when you finally pick your few remaining treasures before some new plague devours them.
Fighting the critters that devour our plants is pretty much a given, whether you are tending a small kitchen garden or farming 1,000 acres. If you want your crop to succeed, then you need to know not only what your crop needs, but what makes those critters tick! (more…)