First, my best wishes for a Happy 2009 to all of you. I know it's hard to see any positive economic signs at the moment, but we humans are supposedly resilient and adaptable organisms. This too will pass. Helpful definitions: Recession = your neighbor is out of work; Depression = you are out of work; Panic = your wife is out of work.
Farmers in particular know a lot about surviving lean years. And if the new administration encourages more sound agricultural practices and soil conservation, our descendants may actually inherit some productive crop lands for growing their food. I'm hopeful, but realistic, too. The sustainable-ag folks don't command the sort of lobbying budgets that chemical corporations and GMO pushers have, but there's at least some reason for optimism come January 21st.
If the cost of petroleum-based fertilizers remains high, this will continue to provide motivation for the USDA and university scientists to explore alternative methods of growing crops, including our biology-based methods. Other motivations are drinking water contamination by nitrates; ocean "dead zones" being caused by runoff of NPK fertilizers; depletion of essential humic and trace elements in soil; and compaction problems caused by elimination of beneficial living organisms. Seems like someday these sort of issues will tip the balance toward clean, sustainable, growing practices. Could this be the year? (It's hard to type with these fingers crossed)
But amidst all the gloomy news, I'm sure many of you share my view that the annual arrival of the seed catalogs is very welcome. To me, they represent a sense of optimism in the future - the promise that you will be able to poke some tiny little seed in the ground and have some wonderfully tasty eating a few weeks later. There are always lots of new (but most likely not really better) varieties of vegetables to consider, thoroughly immodest descriptions of fruit trees, new labor-saving-gadget inventions, and photos showing produce with the unblemished beauty of centerfold models. For a few minutes at least, reading the catalogs always gives my cranky old spirit a welcome boost.
As we enter our 14th year of business, the BioOrganics lineup of Inoculant products and the MycoMinerals soil additive is unchanged this season. As usual, orders for our Mycorrhizal Root Dip take off during bareroot planting time (beginning about now). Several of the major wine grape growers in California and other states routinely inoculate their thousands of new vines, as do many nut, fruit and berry growers across the U.S. Based on the feedback we have received, it seems that grapes and stone fruits - cherries, plums, apricots, peaches, nectarines - respond especially well to mycorrhizal inoculation at planting time. That's the best opportunity to introduce top-performing species of the beneficial fungi.
One small change - we now offer nine types of Endomycorrhizal fungi in all our products - having added the spores of Glomus etunicatum. (Trust me - somewhere, sometime, a plant will be thrilled that we did this!)
Good growing, my friends,