Organic Matter Matters!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

I just returned from Sonoma Grape Day where one of the speakers was espousing the virtues of using synthetic nitrogen, without any reference to the consequences of applying nitrates to our soils. As you know from reading my newsletters, I see and encourage the agricultural industry’s efforts to adopt farming practices that help build soil

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Let It Breathe: The Importance of Soil Respiration

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Healthy soils have a high rate of respiration. Soil respiration refers to the production of carbon dioxide by soil organisms. This includes respiration of plant roots, the rhizosphere, microbes and fauna. The concentrations of both O2 and CO2 are largely dependent on microbial activity, which in turn depends on the availability of organic carbon compounds

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Making It Stick: Glue-Making Fungi Build Crucial Soil Aggregates

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The function of soil is to help grow crops by holding water and supplying nutrients. We all know how important it is to have soil that can “breathe.” The roots of a plant will die without oxygen. In a process that creates vital “spacing” in the soil, bacteria use glue to stick food to themselves

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A Message to Our Customers – Past, Present and Future

Monday, January 22, 2018

Hello Andaman Ag Blog Readers, I hope this finds you well and prospering! I have to apologize for sending out an aggregate sales email to everyone. I would much prefer to send you each an individual email, but that would require being chained to my desk/computer for the next 2 weeks. Unfortunately, I can’t afford to

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This Year, Resolve to Kick the Chemical Habit

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Happy New Year! Andaman Ag would like to wish all of you a very successful new season! Maybe you saw the recent news about a California court stopping a state program that allowed pesticide spraying at schools, organic farms and backyards across California. The court cited inadequate public disclosure of the chemicals’ potential harmful effects.

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The New Year, Time to Commit to Soil Resolutions

Monday, December 18, 2017

If you’re a regular reader of our newsletters, you’re aware of our continued push to improve organic matter in your soils given all the wonderful benefits to plant growth and health, including the ability to store water, nitrogen and phosphorus and the acceleration of the microbial engine below the surface, facilitating a natural exchange of

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Good Microbes vs. Bad: Antibiotics for the Soil

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

In my last newsletter, I talked about how the introduction (inoculation) of new microbes can benefit poor soils and struggling crops. On the other side of the coin, devastating fungi, bacteria and other microbial parasites can contribute to a host of crop diseases. In the 1960s, millions of elm trees in Britain, France and the

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Soil Inoculation: Giving Plants a Nitrogen Fix

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Soil inoculation has been around for a long time, but it takes on new meaning today given the host of products capable of introducing new bacteria to the soil. Many years ago it was learned that certain bacteria have beneficial effects on soils. Scattering soils that had the beneficial bacteria was found to produce better

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Why Your Plants Like to Get Down and Get Fungi

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Most of us have heard of mycorrhizae fungi and their association with the roots of a plant in a symbiotic or mildly pathogenic relationship. In fact, approximately 80 to 90 percent of all plants form symbiotic mycorrhizae fungi relationships by forming hyphae networks. The hyphae are about 1/60 the diameter of most plant root hairs

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2017 Sustainable Ag Expo

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Last week I was in San Luis Obispo attending the 2017 Sustainable Ag Expo. It is a very well run event and there were a number of excellent speakers. It’s a great place to meet with growers we work with from all around the state. Dr. Marc Fuchs, Plant Pathology Professor at Cornell University, spoke

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Getting Your Bearings, Post-Harvest

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

There are a number of studies showing Alternate Bearing (AB) as a naturally occurring and internally regulated process. That’s equivalent to saying that your family has a history of high blood pressure, when it’s actually a family history of poor living and eating habits that has caused the problem. After harvest, a perennial crop is

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The Pest and Pathogen Carousel

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

I’m reading a book by Francis Chaboussou called “Healthy Crops.” The book has groundbreaking material, and all growers should give it a read. I would compare Chaboussou (although much less known) to Liebig, the German chemist who made major contributions to agriculture and biological chemistry and was considered the founder of organic chemistry. Chaboussou presents

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Soil Microbes Can Help Battle Heat Stress

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Drought conditions, heat stress, heavy frost and freezes all dramatically impact our crops. In California, over the Labor Day weekend, we witnessed a heat wave with temperatures soaring as high as 117 degrees in wine growing regions like the Santa Cruz Mountains. Many winemakers experienced a gut reaction of fear, especially with sensitive varieties like

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Fire Relief Offer for Northern California Growers

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Andaman Ag, Master Distributor for Creative Ag Products, Inc. (Pacific Gro) and Sustainable Growing Solutions (MetaGrow ST compost tea), is working directly with its generous suppliers to offer free and discounted products to those vineyards or orchards that have been burned or singed by the recent fires in Northern California. We are offering IBC totes

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A Growing Problem: Ramifications of Synthetic Nitrogen Fertilizer

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Despite the best efforts of soil health advocates, the rate of synthetic fertilizer use is still on the rise. According to USDA, in 1964, farmers were applying on average 58 pounds of nitrogen per acre. By 2010, the average was 140 pounds. It’s unlikely those numbers have changed much since 2010, and that level of

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