> Subject: FW: So Far, This Corn Defies the Drought
> Despite soil-parching drought, green sweet-corn plants tower six feet above
> protective organic mulch in a cornfield in Beltsville, Md. Nearby, corn
> planted in bare soil won't be worth harvesting.
That says it all, almost.
> Key to sustaining the corn through the drought is hairy vetch, a legume
> grown as a cover crop. The vetch--killed before researchers planted the
> corn--forms a dense mat. It helps rain or irrigation water seep in rather
> than flow across fields and erode the soil. The mulch also slows evaporation
> and supplies natural nitrogen fertilizer.
What about organic matter in the soil and slight crusting of the soil
forming a semi-impermeable barrier to evaporation _plus_ mulch, which
helps. It seems to me water holding capacity of the soil is
almost more important unless you have 1' or more of settled, aged
compost or mulch on the surface.
I have volunteer pigweed and other interesting catch crops (not very
deep-rooted) growing vigorously with no mulch or supplemental watering in
a new raised bed containing much aged manure and compost.
There is a slight crust over the top of the bed; soil immediately
underneath (2-4") in nice and moist.
1st fertilizer department
Are we due for another ice age in the next 100-200 years? Anyone
have any ideas about this besides Bargyla :-) (<---note polite, respectful
smiley). Seriously though, I heard a ham radio operator talking about a
serious possibility of this in the near future and thought I'm bring
it up here as this would bear heavily on world food production. I guess
those not living on another planetary body might be living underground
eating cultivated microbes and reading by bioluminescence.
2nd fertilizer department
I have somewhere in my shop an old burlap Peruvian GUANO bag (probably 50#
size) in good condition. If anyone would like this for a museum or other
collection of agricultural memorabilia let me know and I'll be glad to
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