Don’t Ask Me

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Creative Commons License photo credit: cygnus921

No I’m not being cranky. It’s a thrill for me when someone trusts me enough to ask me a question. This is just a plea to remember your county or regional Cooperative Extension office when you have a farm or garden question. It seems like you can find information on almost anything on the Internet, but nothing beats local knowledge and experience for some problems. If you want to improve your soil or you are having a problem with a plant disease or pest, your local Cooperative Extension office will probably have more information than someone hundreds or thousands of miles away. Whatever problem you are having, they have probably heard of someone else with a similar problem.

Congress established the Cooperative Extension System almost one hundred years ago with the Smith-Lever Act in 1914 (PDF file). This act established a partnership between the land-grant universities and the Department of Agriculture to develop practical applications of research and to give the public some instruction and demonstrations of new technologies and applications. At the time, more than half of the population lived in rural areas and about a third worked in agriculture.  The Cooperative Extension System is a way to translate some of the research in land-grant universities and USDA into something the general public can use right away. The increase in farm productivity over the years is due in part to the activities of the Extension System.

Today only a small percentage of Americans are farmers, and the Extension System has changed over the years with population changes.  Every time I visit an extension office or my county extension web site, I’m amazed at the number and types of publications offered.  Many can be downloaded. You can purchase others at reasonable prices. On a recent visit to my county’s extension web site, I found publications on food preservation, a variety of gardening and horticultural topics, money management, information on soil analysis, soil maps and descriptions, information on pests and diseases important to the area, radon testing, wildlife, as well as the expected topics on agriculture and livestock. There’s much much more available.

The USDA web site has a locator map for Cooperative Extension System offices. Many countries have systems similar to ours. If you are from somewhere other than the United States, check out your country’s equivalent and see what they offer.


Web Notables: Soil Molecules in 3D

Have you ever wanted to see what a soil organic molecule or soil mineral molecule looks like? Now you can view soil molecules at the Virtual Museum of Mineral and Molecules.  While the collection isn’t extensive, you can view many of the common soil minerals, soil organic matter, and a couple of pesticides.

Each molecule can

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When Herbicides Don’t Work

You have probably heard about antibiotic resistance in humans.  Particularly with antibiotics that were used for many years, surviving bacteria adapt and develop a resistance to the antibiotic.  (CDC on antibiotic resistance)  The same thing can happen with herbicides and weeds. The first herbicide resistant weed was reported in1957 against 2,4-D in Hawaii. Today the

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Welcome to our new site.  DoctorDirt.com started out as a personal web page back when everybody had to have a personal web page (before Facebook).  It has evolved from a page about my interests to a page only about soil.  As it has evolved, I realized the blog format was more appropriate for the content,

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June 2010 Archive: Soil News

These news stories, which concern soil and soil-related topics, have been gathered from various sources on the Internet.  I try to pick one article each day to highlight. Sometimes I will select two articles. Sometimes it will be a slow news day and I won’t find any to highlight.  The full articles are located off-site. 

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