"Making charcoal may sound like a strange way to boost crop production, but the concept was proven more than 2,000 years ago in South America, where native farmers added charcoal to the poor soils of the Amazon rainforest to create a rich, fertile soil known by the Portuguese name "terra preta," or black earth."
“When it’s done right, adding biochar to soil can improve hydrology and make more nutrients available to plants,” says Rice University biogeochemist Caroline Masiello, the lead researcher. To make the soil additive biochar, charcoal must reach at least 450 degrees Celsius to ensure that water and nutrients get to plants.
New York restaurateur John Mooney has redefined garden with a rooftop that is now a home to melons, mint, garbanzo, tomatoes, lettuce, and much more. . He is the first chef in the U.S. to grow all of his produce on a rooftop farm. Their produce is grown in sixty vertical tower hydroponic systems, designed and engineered by Future Growing LLC., of Orlando, Florida. Unlike traditional gardening methods, hydroponics uses a pH balanced ionic mineral based water solution that is pumped through a central tower that comes in contact with the plants’ roots. The Tower Garden™ uses a closed system technology to recycle 100% of the nutrients and water minimizing waste.
SANTIAGO DE CHILE –
'Halfway between the capital and the Pacific coast, Chile’s countryside becomes a patchwork of dry brown hills and verdant lowlands cut by endless rows of grapes on the vine.
Here in the country’s Casablanca region, a vineyard called Matetic is pushing new limits in the organic cultivation of wine grapes by experimenting with biodynamics – a movement that has gained momentum in wine-growing regions around the world, from the fields of France to Napa Valley.
Matetic is a relatively young vineyard, founded in 1999 by a Croatian family of the same name. Amidst the hilly terrain, Matetic maintains 168 hectares planted with varietals including Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay – all certified organic. Several years ago, Matetic took its first steps toward biodynamic production.
In 1924, Austro-Hungarian scientist and philosopher Rudolf Steiner founded biodynamics, which is defined by the Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association as “an objective understanding of the spiritual world and its interrelationship with the physical world” that “relates the ecology of the farm-organism to that of the entire cosmos.”
As with organic farming, biodynamics precludes the use of pesticides, fertilizers or artificial chemicals of any kind but takes agriculture well beyond basic organics to include the study of and reliance on moon cycles, and the use of oval shapes to foster closed energy circles, elaborate compost preparations, among other efforts."
"Used for centuries in Eastern Europe and Germany, hugelkultur (in German hugelkultur translates roughly as “mound culture”) is a gardening and farming technique whereby woody debris (fallen branches and/or logs) are used as a resource.
Often employed in permaculture systems, hugelkultur allows gardeners and farmers to mimic the nutrient cycling found in a natural woodland to realize several benefits. Woody debris (and other detritus) that falls to the forest floor can readily become sponge like, soaking up rainfall and releasing it slowly into the surrounding soil, thus making this moisture available to nearby plants." permaculture.org.au
The 2012 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is the standard by which gardeners and growers can determine which plants are most likely to thrive at a location. The map is based on the average annual minimum winter temperature, divided into 10-degree F zones.
For the first time, the map is available as an interactive GIS-based map.
Users may also simply type in a ZIP Code and find the hardiness zone for that area.