The Agricultural Adjustment Act in the Great Plains: Part 1

The Agricultural Adjustment Act in the Great Plains: Part 1

Between 1929 and 1932, the net income of the average farm operator fell 69%. Prices for agricultural products were at their lowest since the 1890s. Wheat sold for only 25 cents per bushel. Much of this drop in prices was due to an agricultural surplus. Harvests had been bountiful before the drought hit, and a considerable amount of grassland had been converted to cropland to … Continue reading The Agricultural Adjustment Act in the Great Plains: Part 1

Pros and Cons of Cold Composting

Pros and Cons of Cold Composting

Now that you are familiar with the pros and cons of hot composting, are you eager to get started? Or are you overwhelmed just thinking about all that preparation and turning? If you fall into the latter category, don’t give up on composting altogether just yet. First consider cold composting.   Introduction to Cold Composting A cold compost pile can be started with whatever materials … Continue reading Pros and Cons of Cold Composting

Pros and Cons of Hot Composting

Pros and Cons of Hot Composting

Most gardening books focus primarily (sometimes exclusively) on hot composting methods. They describe elaborate procedures for turning out the perfect batch of compost, including balancing nitrogen content and monitoring temperatures. There is another way to compost—cold composting. The most obvious difference between the two methods is the temperature of the pile. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages, making each one suitable for different circumstances. … Continue reading Pros and Cons of Hot Composting

Luster Leaf Rapitest Soil Test Kit

Luster Leaf Rapitest Soil Test Kit

Knowing the state of your garden soil is handy, but if your garden is for personal family use only, you probably don’t feel justified in ordering a professional lab analysis. Fortunately, inexpensive test kits are available online. This kit by Luster Leaf seems to do a fair job. It tests: pH. Nitrogen. Phosphorus. Potassium. As you can see, only the bare basics are included. The … Continue reading Luster Leaf Rapitest Soil Test Kit

Web Soil Survey

Web Soil Survey

Knowing your soils is a good idea, no matter where you live or what type of country living activity you pursue. The USDA’s National Resources Conservation Service makes that job easy. The Web Soil Survey site takes a little bit of getting used to, but it provides a wealth of information. Once you have selected an area of interest, you can view a map identifying … Continue reading Web Soil Survey

Get Ready for January 2017

Get Ready for January 2017

January is a great time to plan for a new year! Take some time to shape your philosophy and develop a farming or gardening approach. Plan a garden. Discover community-supported agriculture. Learn the pros and cons of gardening in Kansas. Study the farming practices of the Plains Indians. Define sustainable agriculture. Preserve Kansas heritage. Evaluate the interstate highway system. Find out how compost gardening works. … Continue reading Get Ready for January 2017

Verticillium Wilt

Verticillium Wilt

Verticillium wilt is caused by six different species of fungus, all of the genus Verticillium.  These six fungi can attack most of the plants and trees that gardeners like to grow, including vegetables, fruits, and ornamental plants. Verticillium fungi spend the winter in plant debris lying on the ground.  Cool, wet weather triggers it to spread rapidly, creeping into wounded tissue or entering the soil … Continue reading Verticillium Wilt

Fusarium Wilt

Fusarium Wilt

Fusarium wilt is a disease common to the southeastern United States.  It is caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum and affects numerous garden plants, including vegetables, small fruits, and flowers.  The most susceptible host species include: Tomatoes. Sweet potatoes. Cucumbers. Watermelons. The disease is spread through infected soil.  Once it is introduced, it is nearly impossible to get rid of, as it can survive for … Continue reading Fusarium Wilt

Damping-Off

Damping-Off

If you start your own seeds, it is only a matter of time before you become familiar with damping-off, that indiscriminate killer of seedlings.  The disease is caused by several species of fungi, and can infect young plants of all varieties, whether they are grown indoors or out. Damping-off fungi can be transported in soil and on gardening tools.  They thrive in cold, wet conditions. … Continue reading Damping-Off