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Echo's From Our Network

ECHO Gives a Hand to Russia

Grass Mulch an Innovative Way of Gardening in the Dry Tropics

Are Raw Vegetables More Nutritious Than Cooked One?

Can Citrus Residue Be Used for Animal Feed?Onions in the Tropics and Subtropics



Onion Variety Trial Available

Dr. Currah has put together seed for a large onion variety trial that she sends to selected researchers around the world. Most members of ECHO’s network would not have the resources to qualify to participate in such a large trial. However, she has sent one trial for ECHO to subdivide and make minitrials available to you. We have divided them into five sets of six varieties each. We will send one set at no charge to development workers assisting peasant farmers or to university researchers. When you report the results you can request another set. She asks that you be sure to include the best local varieties in your trial for comparison.

Is There a Benefit to Haymaking?

In one study, Nitrogen content was on the average more than 50% higher in hay, and in vitro dry matter digestibility of hay was 60% greater.

Echos From Our Network

Heavy flowering of Neem indicates trouble?

Dr. Jason Yapp, Agricultural Services & Development Manager, Rural Development Corporation, Malaysia. “I would like to reply to Nigel Florida’s inquiry regards to successful tropical mushroom cultivation

Timothy Volk, MCC, Nigeria. “I noted Eddie Visser’s comment in EDN #37 on coating roots of seedlings with a mud solution.

Larry Radice, Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, Tanzania. I thought I might share with you and your readers my experience using neem tree leaves to treat scabies.

Nicola Mears, Ecuador. “Here in coastal Ecuador the area has been transformed in the last 20 years from tropical forest to cattle farms, so the ecology has changed dramatically. 

Are Raw Vegetables More Nutritious Than Cooked One?

 “While it’s true that overcooking reduces the nutritive value of all foods and even moderate heat can destroy certain vitamins, raw food are not always more nutritious. 

ECHO Gives a Hand to Russia

Martin L. Price

ECHO is still waiting for someone to give a serious try to the inexpensive rooftop gardening techniques we have developed (EDN 30). The rest of the world needs a successful model to be convinced of the potential. So we decided to become a handson partner somewhere, and selected Russia. On a brief exploratory and speaking trip last fall I was thrilled at the enthusiasm Russians showed at the idea. Millions live in multistory buildings with flat rooftops built to hold the weight of the worst conceivable snowfall. A mayor in St. Petersburg has made available both unused land in the city for community gardens and variety trials, and rooftops to demonstrate the technique and what can be done there. Our incountry partner is the Center for Citizen Initiatives.

ECHO sent the following letter to our supporters in the States. It prompted so many comments that I have decided to share it with you. It will not help your work and is not typical EDN material, but I hope you enjoy reading it.

What was it like for a 49-year old man to visit the country that for as long as I can remember was “the evil empire” and our country’s arch enemy? The Russians’ response to ECHO’s rooftop gardening idea for their cities was indeed gratifying. And their eagerness to get to know Americans was equally moving. At the personal level, it was an emotional trip, comparable in its impact to my first trip to a Third World country. I was there as one of seven speakers and consultants.

Homemade Dewormer for Goats

Some small farmers in the Philippines are using ipil ipil seeds (Leucaena leucocephala) to deworm young goats

Grass Mulch an Innovative Way of Gardening in the Dry Tropics

Scott Sherman

When I visited Jamaica a couple years ago I learned that farmers in south St. Elizabeth Parish were growing a good crop of scallions. What was unique is that they relied on rainfall in an area that is normally too dry for intensive vegetable production without irrigation. In fact, they were growing tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, green beans etc. where traditionally yam, cassava, tree crops and a few drought tolerant legumes predominated. Working with the Jamaica Agricultural Foundation and the University of Florida, Mac and Pat Davis set out to study this indigenous system of growing vegetables in a guinea grass mulch. The following is based on their two part study of scallion production.

Rainfall averages 125 cm (50 inches) annually during two brief periods in the spring and fall. In addition warm temperatures and high winds combine to rapidly dry the soil after the rains. Farmers have found that mulching with guinea grass (Panicum maximum) not only conserves moisture, but offers other benefits as well.

In the study, all critical steps (i. e. mulching, planting, cultivation, and harvest) were carried out by local farmers in accordance with local practices. Replicated plots were all treated identically (weeded, mulched with a layer of guinea grass and planted) except that after planting the mulch cover was removed from half the plots. Undisturbed fallow plots were left adjacent to each replication for comparison purposes.

Onions in the Tropics and Subtropics

Martin L. Price

A case could be made that onions are one of two universal vegetables that are cherished in almost every culture, tomatoes being the other. Both are difficult to grow in many tropical and subtropical climates. Where a vegetable is both popular and difficult to grow, it brings a good price. If a way can be found to grow that crop, both local farmers and consumers will benefit. While attending a horticulture conference in Honduras, Scott Sherman and I had an opportunity to visit with Dr. Lesley Currah. She travels the Third World working with onion researchers. The interview follows. Be sure to note the offer of seed for a variety trial at the end.

Can Citrus Residue Be Used for Animal Feed?

Dried citrus pulp is high in calcium and digestible energy, but low in digestible protein and phosphorus. (What is the difference between, for example, “digestible” energy and just plain energy? Just because something is present in a food does not mean an animal’s digestive system can make use of it. Only the digestible protein is available to an animal; the rest is excreted in the manure.)

When good quality citrus pulp makes up no more than 40% of the ration, and is properly supplemented with protein and phosphorus, it has a feeding value 8590% of shelled corn. It is highly palatable, i. e. is readily eaten. (We have purchased beef feed containing citrus residue. The smell was wonderful). Citrus pulp is classified as a “bulky concentrate feed” because it is a bulky material that is also relatively high in digestible energy. Because it is relatively low in protein (approximately 6%) it is primarily an “energy feedstuff with roughage properties.”