Belize's most complete agricultural publication.

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Featured/Issue 29

Oregano!

Pungent, balsamic, spicy, zesty, slightly bitter, aromatic, tasty and healing describes oregano, an ancient herb with many culinary and healing properties. Oregano, … Keep Reading

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Featured/Issue 29

Hugelkultur

Hugelkultur, pronounced hoo-gul-culture, is an ancient way of gardening or farming. Practiced for hundreds of years in Germany and Eastern Europe, hugelkultur … Keep Reading

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Issue 30

Homemade Health – Essential Oils

Last summer I had the privilege of staying with a friend who is particularly gifted in the nursing healing arts and complementary therapies. I know a little about aromatherapy but she practices it every day. Her favorite method is to add essential oils to coconut oil (cold-pressed) and use it for massage oil. I found her massage oil to be very helpful for swollen joints, so much so that I became intrigued and decided to learn more. Pure essential oils have been pressed or distilled from the leaves, bark, roots, and other aromatic portions of a plant, yielding highly concentrated compounds. What I didn’t realize is that they can be used with therapeutic benefit for a great number of illnesses… Keep Reading

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Issue 30

To The Editor

Dear Editor, Did you know that minimum wage in Mexico is close to 1/3 of minimum wage in Belize? This fact is the key to understanding the challenges that farmers face in Belize. Imported produce grown more cheaply in countries with a lower minimum wage competes unfairly with produce grown locally. Farmers in Belize suffer the same consequence in competition with imports from Mexico. The great appeal of agro-chemical farming is largely due to the savings in labour. Farmers can simply spray rather than pay more workers to do the job by hand. In this way they can somewhat compete in both the world and local market by cutting the cost of production. This is where local organic farmers peel… Keep Reading

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Issue 30

Stormy Weather

Where were you late afternoon on 28 September? Do you know the reason for that tremendous thunder storm that dumped 55 mm (over 2 inches) of rain in just 45 minutes around Belmopan? Don Thompson’s Weather Analysis web site, www.weathertricity.blogspot.com, explains that the earth was hit by an intense burst of radiation from the sun. Belize was on the outer edge of this strike. The graphic on his web site shows the extent of the hit; South America was hit the hardest although it extended west to Africa and north to the Caribbean. He further explained, “There was a high pressure ridge down the east coast of the Yucatan into Central America. It looks like a line of cells got… Keep Reading

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Issue 30

Young Grove Management Under Huanglongbing (HLB) Scenario In Belize

The challenge facing citrus growers today is how to bring into production young citrus trees under the heavy infestation of Huanglongbing (HLB) and Asian citrus psyllid (ACP). As infected orchards become unproductive, the decision to replace them with new ones is challenging. It is now six years since HLB was detected in Belize and there is an accumulated experience with the disease. The following are important guide lines on how to protect the new groves and minimize the infection rate with HLB. The first priority for citrus growers is to join the coordinated Area-wide Integrated Management System (AIMS) to suppress the Asian citrus psyllid population. A combined effort by everyone is more effective than individual control at the farm level.… Keep Reading

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Issue 30

Corn That Says “No” To GMO

In the modern world where large agriculture companies are gaining ground with GM (genetically modified) corn seeds, non-GM growers have been in an increasingly difficult situation from GM pollen drift. This pollen can drift over four miles in the wind and once it lands in a non-GM field, that corn becomes tainted with the GM variety. Once contaminated, the farmer typically gets a lower price, and for specialty food grade and organic corn the price can be as little as half what it would have been. However, one bright spot is that a few plant breeders have found a way to develop non-GM corn varieties that “say no” to the GM pollen when it comes blowing its way. Blue River… Keep Reading

Issue 30

Energetic Agriculture – Pesticides & Healthy Crops

Belize City, Oct 18th 2015: Late last year a farmer from Blue Creek in Orange Walk asked me how to effectively deal with aphids and mites in his crops. This was a hard question to answer. It took me several months of research to find the answer. The answer is so simple it spins the mind. I knew part of the problem, but not the entire solution. From my previous research and 3 years of experiments, nutrition appeared to be part of the cause of this pest problem for farmers. I had also known that nitrogen was also part of the problem. Nitrogen in two forms is used in agriculture — ammonia and nitrate depending upon the stage of growth… Keep Reading

Issue 30

Soil Inoculants – Nutrient Uptake, Water Use, Disease Resistance

Understanding soil biology is important for keeping agricultural systems healthy and productive. Living soil is complex and includes creatures that cannot be seen with the naked eye, such as bacteria, fungi, actinomycetes, protozoa and nematodes, as well as familiar creatures such as insects and earthworms. One teaspoon of a healthy soil can contain billions of bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms. This community of organisms is bound together in a food web that affects the chemical and physical properties of soils. We care about these properties because they also affect plant growth and health. Practices such as adding manures or composts to soil, planting cover crops and rotating crops are all aimed at rebuilding and maintaining soil organic matter, recycling and… Keep Reading

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Featured/Issue 30

Beyond The Backyard – Tropical Pioneers

Two trees that could be confused at a distance and have a lot in common are the trumpet tree and the balsa tree. Both arrived in my garden uninvited but the more I study them my respect increases.They are both fast growing indigenous jungle plants that play a very important role in the eco system. Cecropia named after the mythical first king of Athens Cecrops may have about 25 species in Belize of the family Urticaceae. Perhaps the most common is Cecropia peltata called the umbrella tree, embauba, trumpet tree, guarmo, yarumo and kooche as it is everywhere you look. It has been a seriously studied jungle weed due to its interdependency with biting Azteca ants who colonize its hollow… Keep Reading

Issue 30

Why Sulfur?

Although elements, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, usually referred to as NPK, are the major considerations for fertile soil by farmers, sulfur should be considered the fourth major nutrient in terms of the amount required. Most crops use between 40 to 90% as much sulfur as phosphate. Corn, sorghum and rice use around 35% as much sulfur as phosphate; citrus and sugarcane, about 50%, but cabbage and onions, 90 to 110%. There is a difference between sulfur and sulfate. Sulfur is an element, S; sulfate is sulfur combined with oxygen, SO4. When you compare phosphate, P2O5, with sulfur you should use the sulfate form of the element to obtain an accurate comparison. Although soils are tested for the elements, it is… Keep Reading

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Issue 30

The Soils Of Belize By District/Region – The Belize District – East To West

My last article (issue 29, Aug 2015) introduced the soils of the Belize District along and from the sea coast. This article is a further exploration of these soils extending westwards into the Cayo District as these soils are related to the course of the main agents of formation, the southern Belize and Sibun Rivers. We go from swamps to elevations of about 200 ft that have been formed by the Belize River in the north and the Sibun River, including the Caves Branch tributary, in the south. A major characteristic is the presence of relatively large and minor lagoons, creeks and streams. As the elevation rises the containing lowland pine ridge gives way to broken ridges interspersed with areas… Keep Reading

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