5 Issues in this Publication (Showing 1 - 5)
This document distinguishes between ‘anchor’ cover crops (that are intercropped with a main crop such as maize) and ‘secondary’ cover crops (that don’t compete with the main crop because they have a short life cycle, and that can help cover the soil at the start of the growing season). The document also includes short summaries of five cover crops: jack bean, pigeon pea, lablab beans, cowpeas, and mung beans.
Jack bean is an excellent plant for enriching soil, because it grows under very difficult conditions. However, the beans contain toxins that normally make them unsuitable for human consumption. This document describes how to germinate jack bean to remove the toxins and increase the beans’ nutrition. Germinated beans also cook more quickly, saving time and money. [Note: Feed the Future also has a more extensive document on this subject, which we hope to summarize in a future issue of EDN.]
This short document contains graphs that show how zero tillage leads to increased water infiltration and increased water retention in soil.
In the Push-Pull system, crops that repel pests and/or attract pests’ predators are intercropped with maize, to ‘push’ pests away from the main crop. Plants that attract pests are planted around the field, to ‘pull’ pests away from the maize. Incorporating legumes in this system means that soil fertility gradually increases over time.
This brief also explains how a farmer in Mozambique managed her pigeon pea plants to repel fall armyworms. She tried sowing maize between pigeon pea plants that, after a previous season’s growth, were cut to a height of 50 cm and allowed to regrow. For reasons explained in the brief, this worked better than starting pigeon pea from seed each season.
Four nutrient deficiencies--phosphorus, potassium, nitrogen, and magnesium--can be diagnosed by observing maize leaves. This document includes photos of a healthy maize leaf and of maize leaves demonstrating each of these nutrient deficiencies. It also contains suggestions for how to address each type of deficiency.