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Agriculture / Conservation News
Agriculture / Conservation News: Resolve To Start Composting
 

By Irene Percoski, CT State Grange Agriculture Committee Member

  January 1, 2021 --

The encyclopedia describes crop failure (also known as harvest failure) as an absent or greatly diminished crop yield relative to expectation, caused by the plants being damaged, killed, or destroyed, or affected in some way that they fail to form edible fruit, seeds or leaves in their expected abundance.

Crop failures can be caused by catastrophic events such as plant disease outbreaks, heavy rainfall, volcanic eruptions, storms, floods or drought, or by slow, cumulative effects of soil degradation, too-high soil salinity, over fertilization, or overexploitation. The proliferation of industrial businesses with their reduction in crop diversity and dependence on heavy use of artificial fertilizers and pesticides, has led to overexploited soils that are nearly incapable of regeneration.

Management of soil fertility has been the preoccupation of farmers for thousands of years. Early Germans are recorded as using minerals or manure to enhance the productivity of their farms.  The modern science of plant nutrition started in the 19th century with German chemist Justus von Liebig, who among others began to experiment on the effects of various manures on

plants growing in pots in 1837. A year or two later the experiments were extended to crops in the field. One immediate consequence was that in 1842 he patented manure formed by treating phosphates with sulfuric acid, and thus was the first to create the artificial manure industry. In the following decades more experimentation added nitrates, ammonium, formaldehyde and others so-called enhancers thus providing us with the synthetic fertilizers we use today.

As an agricultural-based fraternal organization we urge you to take into consideration the effects that artificial over-fertilization can have on your own property, whether it is your lawn, flowers or vegetable gardens. We urge you to try natural means such as home-made mulch. Make a simple compost bin using nothing more than an old trash barrel or plastic bin with a lid. Drill holes on all sides and place in a convenient place in your yard. Add some crumbled leaves, and a small covering of dirt and you’re in business. Throw all your vegetable and fruit peels, egg shells, coffee grounds and stir the mixture… if too dry, add a small amount of water. In a few months you will have made the best garden additive to your garden. This could be a simple spring project for you or your children.

Create a compost bin for small-scale production of organic fertilizer.

 

 
 
 

 
     
     
       
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