Record yields with System of Rice Intensification

Soon it’s time to start some sorghum and rice seedling. We tried rice a couple years ago, by the rice seeds didn’t germinate. Last year I was too busy, but hopefully I’ll get to try some rice again.
Especially since US produced rice has so much arsonic and our dogs eat rice every day, it would be great to grow some rice.

How Millions of Farmers are Advancing Agriculture For Themselves
… The world record yield for paddy rice production is not held by an agricultural research station or by a large-scale farmer from the United States, but by Sumant Kumar who has a farm of just two hectares in Darveshpura village in the state of Bihar in Northern India. His record yield of 22.4 tons per hectare, from a one-acre plot, was achieved with what is known as the System of Rice Intensification (SRI). To put his achievement in perspective, the average paddy yield worldwide is about 4 tons per hectare. Even with the use of fertilizer, average yields are usually not more than 8 tons.  ….
SRI-grown Rice in China

This is some badly needed excellent news.  We need to get away from the factory farms and it’s fantastic to read about this success.  FYI, it doesn’t just apply to rice:

… The adaptation of SRI experience and principles to other crops is being referred to generically as the System of Crop Intensification (SCI), encompassing variants for wheat (SWI), maize (SMI), finger millet (SFMI), sugarcane (SSI), mustard (rapeseed/canola)(another SMI), teff (STI), legumes such as pigeon peas, lentils and soya beans, and vegetables such as tomatoes, chillies and eggplant.
That similar results are seen across such a range of plants suggests some generic processes may be involved, and these practices are not only good for growing rice. This suggests to Prof. Norman Uphoff and colleagues within the SRI network that more attention should be given to the contributions that are made to agricultural production by the soil biota, both in the plants’ rhizospheres but also as symbiotic endophytes within the plants themselves (Uphoff et al. 2012).  …

Great article!

FINALLY! Vegas Roots community garden and market

This is just too cool!  I just found Vegas Roots (fka Tonopah Community Garden) and I am so thrilled to see their activities, market, Saturday “you pick” and other events.
Every time I was at the Henderson farmers market there was NO locally grown food at all and I was told the BIG LIE:

You can’t grow food here!

Of course I know that’s BS because WE can grow food and especially in winter when it gets to single digits here (as a week ago), Las Vegas is perfect for lettuce and all sorts of winter veggies.
Vegas Roots does a LOT more than grow food, they have tours for schools and now the are starting their market.

Here is the Vegas Roots Market Schedule and info about the Saturday You Pick.
I can’t wait to check it out in person!  If you’re in the Meadview / Kingman area, have a more fuel efficient vehicle than my truck and you’d like to visit Vegas Roots, I’d love to share the ride and fuel expenses.

We finally moved our farmstand

I thought I’d never see the day! For over half a year we have been building our farmstand and it’s about time we finally moved it from our property to its hopefully permanent home at Canyon’s End (fka Ken’s Pizza) in Meadview.
It took WAY more pallets than expected and then it took a while to line up a suitable trailer and a truck that could pull it, as our truck doesn’t have a dropdown hitch. And then it got so COLD. But today it was beautiful with hardly any wind and we finally got to move it.
Here we are taking the farmstand apart:
1-18-13--takedown Continue reading “We finally moved our farmstand”

Lead, crime and gardening

A long 2-page MUST READ article if you garden in an urban area or you have kids:
America's Real Criminal Element: Lead
While the article revolves around the astounding relationship between the rise and drop of crime corresponding to the use of leaded gasoline and paint, this is important to gardeners and people with young kids because the lead does NOT go away.
I have not heard anything at all about lead abatement programs and that's shocking considering these numbers:

… Mielke has studied this in New Orleans, and it turns out that the numbers go up very fast even at low levels. Children who live in neighborhoods with a soil level of 100 ppm have average blood lead concentrations of 3.8 ?g/dL—a level that's only barely tolerable. At 500 ppm, blood levels go up to 5.9 ?g/dL, and at 1,000 ppm they go up to 7.5 ?g/dL. These levels are high enough to do serious damage.

“I know people who have moved into gentrified neighborhoods and immediately renovate everything. They create huge hazards for their kids.”

Mielke's partner, Sammy Zahran, walked me through a lengthy—and hair-raising—presentation about the effect that all that old gasoline lead continues to have in New Orleans. The very first slide describes the basic problem: Lead in soil doesn't stay in the soil. Every summer, like clockwork, as the weather dries up, all that lead gets kicked back into the atmosphere in a process called resuspension. The zombie lead is back to haunt us.
Mark Laidlaw, a doctoral student who has worked with Mielke, explains how this works: People and pets track lead dust from soil into houses, where it's ingested by small children via hand-to-mouth contact. Ditto for lead dust generated by old paint inside houses. This dust cocktail is where most lead exposure today comes from. …

Fortunately we garden on virgin land way out in the desert and we don't have to worry about lead.  However, I've been looking for an inexpensive way to test plants for metals and toxins just to be on the safe side and I'd really like to test some of the supermarket and farmers market food.
Please let me know of a lab doing affordable plant / veggie testing!

An update on popular seed houses and Monsanto

Here is an excellent article on Territorial, FedCo and Johnny’s and to summarize, they are NOT Monsanto owned and Territorial no longer buys ANY seeds from Seminis, the nation’s largest seed supplier that got purchased by Monsanto in 2005:

A Brief History of Monsanto and Seed Houses Who Got Screwed

It’s always nice to see someone do some serious research BEFORE they post and spread rumors.