Monday, August 16, 2010

Very few 'toxic chemical farmers'

Arrived at Benton County Fairground today -5mins late - really struggling with US signage and my sat nav isn't taking zip codes - great because driving on the wrong side isn't hard enough, trying to navigate between a naff map, a sat nav map with only major roads and filling in the gaps with the one road name I wrote down last night! Anyway, mission accomplished eventually.

I was a bit surprised when I walked in in turned up jeans and a shirt -I did have my flip flops on so partially fitted in with the majority organic producers - nuff said?

Anyway a fair diversity of people, very few conventional toxic chemial farmers let alone devil worshipping advisers like myself so they all looked on with a definite air of contempt and perhaps a little hostilaty - they'll warm to me I'll make sure of that!
A fungi consuming a harmful nematode
So what did I learn? Dairy Queen rules (Oreo brownie blizzard - heaven) erm, soil wise some 'pretty cool' stuff that ties in nicely with everything else I've been reading and learning lately it's just a bit mind blowing trying to fit it all together. Highlights: protozoa eat bacteria which releases the soil nutrients. Nematodes are the most prolific organisms on the planet, the largest nematode live in the blue whale and is 8ft long. The theory of ecological succession and the need to match your bacteria : fungi ratio to the plant types you're trying to grow - for instance Brome grasses are a 'low level' plant type and require only a low microbe count to thrive - hence we're seeing more brome in the UK these days. Frass is the name for insect poo. In a thriving soil there could be enough microbial cycling of Nitrogen NOT TO REQUIRE ANY FURTHER N to grow a high yielding wheat crop -just think about it.

Anyway, tommorrow is compost and teas - so watch this space....


  1. Sounds fascinating Jo! when you get back look up Laverstock Park and their soil lab stuff, sounds similar (and also very organic!)

  2. All I read was blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, brownie, blah blah blah.
    More general interest please!