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One Bad Apple… Plant Growth Hormones and You

By: Luke A. Besmer

I am sure you’ve heard the old saying about how one bad apple spoils the bunch? Well it’s true, and of all things it’s due to a hormonal imbalance. Who’da thunk? So it turns out that in nature, the first ripe apple of the season drops to the ground and begins to decompose. During the decomposition process, the apple releases a gas called Ethylene. Ethylene is a Plant Growth Hormone (PGH) that triggers the nearby apples to fall to the ground and start the decomposition process. The sweet smell of all those decomposing apples attracts foraging animals who eat the apples and spread the seeds far and wide, often with a little fertilizer to boot (or conversely, to overwhelm scavengers so that some seeds are left undisturbed and able to safely germinate). Ethylene and other Plant Growth Hormones are vitally important to all aspects of plant growth and development, understanding them and their uses can improve any gardener’s yield.

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Cannabis Crop Recomendations

By Moriah LaChapelle

Here is a wonderful article [offline as of 1/19/2020] to become familiarized with certain techniques and practices associated with Integrated Pest Management (IPM). 

Moriah LaChapell joined Evergreen Growers Supply during 2015 as an Agronomist. She has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from Western Oregon University and a Professional Viticulture Certificate from Washington State University.  She was previously employed at Fisher Farms as the Plant Health Manager. Most of her work at Fisher Farms involved scouting ornamental plants and releasing beneficial insects to reduce insecticide applications. She is passionate about collaborating with growers to produce long term solutions for pests and plant pathogens. You can contact her directly through her website.

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EcoAg: Open-Source Marijuana

 “Building on this ecological abundance, complexity, and sustainability, a community of EcoAg marijuana producers can create resource exchange relationships and networks and nurture a resilient, sustainable and reliable industry built on a common ecological template.  In turn, industry reliability can help build trust with consumers, laying the groundwork for durable brands.  A robust and diverse community of producers based on the open-source eco-template can offer a rich basket of high-quality goods and services that will appeal to a wide range of consumers and expand the growing market.  That’s open source marijuana….”

Read the full article at MJNN.

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Companion Planting for Cannabis

By Royal Queen Seeds

If you are looking for a natural way to improve the conditions of your garden and even help with some pests, companion planting is an innovative yet not so new way to do just that. Companion planting is the strategic planting of fruits, vegetables or herbs alongside your cannabis plants in order to improve the natural ecosystem your plants are growing in – without turning to pesticides or additional supplementation. Companion planting is a natural and effective way of controlling mites and other pests, enhancing nutrient uptake and soil quality, as well as providing a habitat for beneficial creatures….

Read the full article at Royal Queen Seeds

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Caterpillar Management – Identification and IPM Practices

Fall is here and so are the caterpillars, at least in Northern California. We have documented numerous instances of caterpillar damage and can officially say there has been a decent hatch this year.  

But how to deal with these nefarious little buggers? The best physical control is to carefully groom each plant and hand pick the caterpillars off. They can be difficult to see, but there are key telltale signs of their presence: 

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Company Spotlight – California Organic Fertilizers Inc.

Based on our qualitative observations of farms using select products from this line of fertilizers, it is in our opinion that businesses, farms and co-ops, seeking to follow organic input standards, look into using this line of fertilizers. 

California Organic Fertilizers has consistently proven their line of nutrients and any single product can make a great addition to a current regime.  We recommend that farms and individuals contact their local horticultural center and request this line be carried. 

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Fermented Plant Juice

“What Is Fermented Plant Juice (FPJ)?

FPJ is used in solutions for seed and soil treatments and plant nutrition. It consists of the young shoots of vigorously growing plants that are allowed to ferment for approximately 7 days with the aid of brown sugar. The brown sugar draws the juices out of the plant material via osmosis and also serves as a food source for the microbes carrying out the fermentation process. “

-University of Hawaii

The general overarching concept is the bacteria in the fermentation process use the sugars to breakdown the plant matter and convert it into a highly available solution of nutrients, hormones, enzymes, amino acids and microbes.

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Plants to the Rescue of Plants

“Maybe it’s because of their wine-making heritage, but the French are obsessed with fermenting various plants into special insecticidal, bactericidal, and fungicidal brews to use on…other plants.”

In a world gone mad with pesticides and fungicides, it’s time we take a step backwards and analyze what our ancestors have accomplished without the use of synthetically created chemicals. This synopsis from frenchgardening.com provides a clear example of different varieties of herbs and their unique control properties on pests or pathogens. 

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Product Spotlight – OG BioWar

OG BioWar is a product that has been used rather extensively by a group of conscious minded farmers here in Humboldt County.  The root pack is a microbial inoculant. It is a blend of highly concentrated beneficial fungi and bacteria that perform many important functions in the rhizosphere. The root pack promotes plant health by boosting the immune system, increasing shoot and root growth, multiplying flower production and increasing essential oil production. The entire line of OG BIOWAR is worth checking out, definitely a CHA recommended product for biological controls. 

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Sustainable Agriculture Techniques

From Union of Concerned Scientists

“What is sustainable agriculture? What is regenerative agriculture? We will be covering these topics more in depth as we evolve our mission.  This particular article, written by the Union of Concerned Scientists covers the basics of what it means to be sustainable. Clearly crop rotation will not suit the needs of cannabis farmers, but many other of their recommendations are worth considering.  This is our open source science and we always welcome constructive criticism to expound upon this information.  We will get into no-till a little bit later…” -CHA

Sustainable agriculture provides high yields without undermining the natural systems and resources that productivity depends on. Farmers who take a sustainable approach work efficiently with natural processes rather than ignoring or struggling against them – and use the best of current knowledge and technology to avoid the unintended consequences of industrial, chemical-based agriculture. One important result is that farmers are able to minimize their use of pesticides and fertilizers, thereby saving money and protecting future productivity, as well as the environment.

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