Mushroom-An Overview

Mushrooms with other fungi are something special in the living world, being neither plants nor animals. They have been placed in a kingdom of their own called the kingdom of Myceteae. But what are mushrooms? The word mushroom may mean different things to different people and countries. It has emerged that specialised studies and the economic value of mushrooms and their products had reached a point where a clear definition of the term “mushroom” was warranted. In a broad sense “Mushroom is a macrofungus with a distinctive fruiting body, which can be either epigeous or hypogeous and large enough to be seen with naked eye and to be picked by hand” (Chang and Miles, 1992). Thus, mushrooms need not be basidiomycetes, nor aerial, nor fleshy, nor edible. Mushrooms can be ascomycetes, grow underground, have a non-fleshy texture and need not be edible. This definition is not a perfect one but can be accepted as a workable term to estimate the number of mushrooms on the earth. The most common type of mushrooms is umbrella shaped with a pileus (cap) and a stipe (stem) i.e. Lentinula edodes. Other species additionally have a volva (cup) i.e. Volvariella volvacea or an annulus (ring)

i.e. Agarius campestris or with both of them i.e. Amanita muscaria. Furthermore, some mushrooms are in the form of pliable cups; others round like golf balls. Some are in the shape of small clubs; some resemble coral; others are yellow or orange jelly-like globs; and some even very much resembles the human ear. In fact, there is a countless variety of forms.

The structure that we call a mushroom is in reality only the fruiting body of the fungus. The vegetative part of the fungus, called the mycelium, comprises a system of branching threads and cord-like strands that branch out through soil, compost, wood log or other lignocellulosic material on which the fungus may be growing. After a period of growth and under favourable conditions, the established (matured) mycelium could produce the fruit structure which we call the mushroom. Accordingly mushrooms can be grouped into four categories: (1) those which are fleshy and edible fall into the edible mushroom category, e.g., Agaricus bisporus; (2) mushrooms which are considered to have medicinal applications, are referred to as medicinal mushrooms, e.g., Ganoderma lucidum; (3) those which are proven to be, or suspected of being poisonous are named as poisonous mushrooms, e.g., Amanita phalloides; and (4) a miscellaneous category which includes a large number of mushrooms whose properties remain less well defined, which may tentatively be grouped together as ‘other mushrooms’. Certainly, this approach of classifying of mushrooms is not absolute and not mutually exclusive. Many kinds of mushrooms are not only edible, but also possess tonic and medicinal qualities. Mushrooms are devoid of leaves, and of chlorophyll-containing tissues. This renders them incapable of photosynthetic food production. Yet, they grow, and they produce new biomass. How? For their survival, for their growth, and for their metabolism, they rely on organic matter synthesized by the green plants around us, including organic products contained in agricultural crop residues. The organic materials, on which mushrooms derive their nutrition, are referred to as substrates. Mushrooms are a unique biota which assembles their food by secreting degrading enzymes and decompose the complex food materials present in the biomass where they grow, to generate simpler compounds, which they then absorb, and transform into their own peculiar tissues. These substrate materials are usually by-products from industry, households and agriculture and are usually considered as wastes. And these wastes, if carelessly disposed of in the surrounding environment by dumping or burning, will lead to environmental pollution and consequently cause health hazards. However, they are actually resources in the wrong place at a particular time and mushroom cultivation can harness this waste/resource for its own beneficial advantage.

Mushrooms lack true roots. How then are they anchored into the substrates where we find them? This is affected by their tightly interwoven thread-like hyphae, which also colonise the substrates, degrade their biochemical components, and siphon away the hydrolysed organic compounds for their own nutrition.

February Flowers

feb Flowers

February is the month of Valentine’s Day and bouquets of red roses are a common sight this time of year. But did you know that there are many other species of flower available in February as well?

Wild primroses, crocus and Aubretia can all be found across the UK in February if you know where to look. Despite the chilly weather there are many flowers and plants that will start to emerge this month.

See below for a list of flowers which you can find in February:


Acacia (Mimosa) – Tiny petal-less yellow flowers cover the stems
Aconitum (Monkshood) – Tall spiky flowers, long lasting but poisonous
Alstroemeria (Peruvian Lily) – Very popular and long lasting flowers, often bi-coloured
Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) – Large very striking trumpet shaped flowers, often grown indoors from bulbs
Ammi (Queen Anne’s lace) – Masses of delicate white flowers, ideal as a filler
Anemone (Windflower) – Delicate, papery flowers, available in vibrant and pale colours
Anigozanthus (Kangaroo Paw) – Unusual furry buds with insignificant flowers. Ideal for modern arrangements
Anthurium (Painter’s Palette) – Exotic waxy looking flowers
Aranthera (Scorpion Orchid) – Long lasting orchid with small flowers on upright stems
Asclepias (Milkweed) – Clusters of tiny flowers, ideal as a filler
Aster (Michaelmas daisy) – Popular filler with daisy like flowers on upright stems
Astrantia – Starry mauve or white flowers, slightly unpleasant smell
Arachnis (Spider Orchid) – Long stems with slender petals and spotted flowers
Banksia (Bottlebrush) – Exotic Protea from Australia, large flower heads made up of masses of tiny flowers
Bouvardia – Clusters of small tubular flowers, use with special flower food. Not all colours are available throughout the year
Bupleurum – Insignificant yellow green flowers. Used more as a foliage and as a filler
Marigold (Calendula) – Popular daisy-like flower with a country garden feel
Calla Lily (Zantedeschia, Arum Lily) – Striking single flowers. The coloured varieties are smaller than the white ones, and not all colours are available all year round
Campanula (Canterbury Bells) – Quite large bell shaped flowers, several to a stem
Carnation – Very long lasting. Some new more interesting colours are now available
Carthamus (Safflower) – Unusual slightly thistle like flowers, dries well
Spray Carnation – Long lasting flowers. Some more interesting colours becoming available
Cattleya orchid – Large brightly coloured orchids, usually 1 or 2 per stem
Cestrum – Dense clusters of flowers at the top of straight stems
Ginger (Alpinia) – Large striking tropical flowers
Waxflower (Chamaelaucium) – Small scented flowers ideal as fillers, sold in bud and in flower
Chrysanthemum – Available as large individual showy blooms, or the spray variety. Very long lasting
Craspedia – Small completely round flower head made up of lots of tiny yellow flowers
Crocosmia – Tall spiky flowers generally known as Montbretia when grown as a garden flower.
Cymbidium Orchid – Striking flowers, which flower profusely with up to 12 flowers on each stem
Cynara (Artichoke) – The flower of the artichoke
Delphinium -Tall flower spikes. Also, Larkspur which is a type of delphinium
Dendrobium orchid (Singapore orchid) – Long lasting orchids with several blooms on each erect stem
Echinacea – Daisy like flowers with backward sloping petals
Eremurus (Foxtail Lily) – Large dramatic flowers, usually yellow or orange, with other colours less commonly available
Eryngium (Sea Holly) – Blue thistle like flowers, sometimes the blue is so intense it is hard to believe they are not dyed
Eucharis (Amazon Lily) – Beautiful slightly downward facing delicate flower heads on tall straight stems
Euphorbia (Spurge) – Graceful curving stems with loads of tiny flowers. Note not all colours are available at the same time, check with your florist
Eupatorium – pretty white small flowers, used as a filler
Forsythia – The shrub commonly grown in our gardens for their springtime flowers
Freesia – Highly popular, highly scented flowers
Fritillaria – Exotic looking flowers which hang downwards in a cluster on top of tall straight stems
Genista – Masses of tiny flowers all along the straight leafless stems. Popular filler flower
Gentiana – Long lasting trumpet shaped flowers up straight stems
Gerbera – Large daisy like flowers, a smaller ‘germini’ variety is also available
Gloriosa (Glory Lily) – A very dramatic flower with yellow edged cerise petals. The National Flower of Zimbabwe
Godetia – Several brightly coloured trumpet shaped flowers open up each stem
Gypsophila – Very popular filler flower. New smaller-flowered varieties are now available
Heliconia – Tropical flower with large very dramatic flower heads. Several different types available
Helleborus (Christmas Rose) – Short lived very delicate and subtle flowers
Hyacinth – Popular as a pot plant hyacinth and increasingly popular as a cut flower
Hypericum (St John’s Wort) – Attractive berries rather than flowers make this a very popular filler
Iris – Very popular but short lived flowers
Leucadendron (Safari Sunset) – It is the leaves rather than the flowers which make this popular
Leucospermum (Pincushion Protea) – Large flower heads which resemble a pin cushion. Long lasting
Lily – Available throughout the year, but if you are looking for a particular colour check availability with your florist
Liatris – Tall poker shaped purple flowers
Lilac – A common shrub and highly popular, strongly scented cut flower
Lily of the Valley (Convallaria) – Tiny bell shaped flowers on short stems. Very popular in wedding flowers
Limonium (Sea Lavender) – Popular as a dried flower, all varieties make good fillers, but it can have an unpleasant smell!
Lisianthus (Eustoma) – Popular flowers which open from tightly swirled buds, bi-coloured varieties also available
Lysimachia (Loose Strife) – Arching flower heads on the end of the stems, each made up of a mass of tiny flowers
Moluccella (Bells of Ireland) – Tall stems with a mass of bell shaped flowers
Muscari (Grape hyacinth) – Very small with short stems and clusters of tiny blue flowers
Narcissus (Daffodil) – Needs no description and evokes spring more than any other cut flower
Oncidium orchid (Golden Shower Orchid) – Lots of small yellow flowers along the stem. Miniature hybrids are available in colours other than yellow
Ornithogalum (Chincherinchee) – Fantastically long lasting flower, usually white and less commonly available in yellow
Paphiopedilum orchid (Slipper orchid) – Very large dramatic orchid flowers
Phalaenopsis orchid (Moth Orchid) – Large showy flowers, popular as a pot plant as well as a cut flower especially for weddings
Phlox – English country garden flower. Very popular
Protea – Large exotic flowers with many different varieties
Prunus (Flowering cherry) – Cherry blossom, beautiful delicate flowers on tall straight branches
Ranunculus – Small delicate, papery flowers.
Rose – Needs no description! Almost every colour available except true black or blue
Rudbeckia – Daisy like flower, usually sold without any petals, just the pincushion like centre
Solidago – A popular yellow filler flower
Solidaster – A cross between Solidago and the Aster. Used as a filler
Stephanotis (Wax flower) – Not generally available as a cut flower, but the individual small, waxy, white flowers are often used in bridal work
Strelitzia (Bird of Paradise) – Unmistakable large and exotic flowers with blue and orange flowers
Sunflower (Helianthus) – Striking, large daisy like flowers, usually yellow but more unusual rusty colours are becoming available
Tanecetum – A type of chrysanthemum with small button shaped flowers
Trachelium – Masses of tiny flowers create a large flat flower head
Tuberose (Polianthes) – Highly scented flowers on tall stems
Tulip – One of the most popular cut flowers in the UK with many different varieties
Veronica (Speedwell) – Delicate flower spikes add contrast to arrangements
Viburnum (Snowballs) – Short lived but increasingly popular. Each flower head is made up of a mass of tiny flowers
Vanda – Usually 6 – 8 blooms per flower stem, the petals often have a marbled appearance
Vuylstekeara – A hybrid orchid, with highly patterned petals


Source of Article: http://www.flowers.org.uk

Tillage-An Overview

Tillage operations in various forms have been practiced from the very inception of growing plants.Primitive man used tools to disturb the soils for placing seeds. The word tillage is derived from the Anglo-Saxon words tilianand teolian, meaning to plough and prepare soil for seed to sow, to cultivate and to raise crops. Jethrotull, who is considered as Father of tillagesuggested that thorough ploughing is necessary so as to make the soil into fine particles.

DEFINITION

Tillagerefers to the mechanical manipulation of the soil with tools and implements so as to create favourable soil conditions for better seed germination and subsequent growth of crops. Tilth is a physical condition of the soil resulting from tillage. Tilth is a loose friable (mellow), airy, powdery, granular and crumbly condition of the soil with optimum moisture content suitable for work-ing and germination or sprouting of seeds and propagules i.e., tilth is the ideal seed bed.

CHARACTERISTICS OF GOOD TILTH

cenius_002_frei_450Good tilth refers to the favourable physical conditions for germination and growth of crops. Tilth indicates two properties of soilviz., the size distribution of aggregates and mellowness or friability of soil. The relative proportion of different sized soil aggregates is known as size distribution of soil aggregates. Higher percentages of larger aggregates with a size above 5 mm in diameter are necessary for irrigated agriculture while higher percentage of smaller aggregates (1–2 mm in diameter) are desir-able for rainfed agriculture. Mellowness or friability is that property of soil by which the clods when dry become more crumbly. A soil with good tilth is quite porous and has free drainage up to water table. The capillary and non-capillary pores should be in equal proportion so that sufficient amount of water and free air is retained respectively.

 

OBJECTIVES
conservation_tillageTillage is done:
• To prepare ideal seed bed favourable for seed germination, growth and establishment;
• To loosen the soil for easy root penetration and proliferation;
• To remove other sprouting materials in the soil;
• To control weeds;
• To certain extent to control pest and diseases which harbour in the soil;

• To improve soil physical conditions;
• To ensure adequate aeration in the root zone which in turn favour for microbial and biochemical
activities;
• To modify soil temperature;
• To break hard soil pans and to improve drainage facility;
• To incorporate crop residues and organic matter left over;
• To conserve soil by minimizing the soil erosion;
• To conserve the soil moisture;
• To harvest efficiently the effective rain water;
• To assure the through mixing of manures, fertilizers and pesticides in the soil;
• To facilitate water infiltration and thus increasing the water holding capacity of the soil, and
• To level the field for efficient water management

TYPES OF TILTH

Fine Tilth refers to the powdery condition of the soil.
Coarse Tilth refers to the rough cloddy condition of the soil.
Fine seedbed is required for small seeded crops like ragi, onion, berseem, tobacco.
Coarse seedbed is needed for bold seeded crops like sorghum, cotton, chickpea, lab-lab etc.

TYPES OF TILLAGE
1. On Season Tillage:It is done during the cropping season (June–July or Sept.–Oct.).
2. Off Season Tillage:It is done during fallow or non-cropped season (summer).
3. Special Types of Tillage:It is done at any time with some special objective/purpose.

image001On Season Tillage
Tillage operations done for raising the crops in the same season or at the onset of the crop season are called as on season tillage. They are,
A. Preparatory Tillage
It refers to tillage operations that are done to prepare the field for raising crops. It is divided into three types viz., (i) primary tillage, (ii) secondary tillage, and (iii) seed bed preparation.
(i) Primary tillage – The first cutting and inverting of the soil that is done after the harvest of the
crop or untilled fallow, is known as primary tillage. It is normally the deepest operation performed during the period between two crops. Depth may range from 10–30 cm. It includes ploughing to cut and invert the soil for further operation. It consists of deep opening and loosening the soil to bring out the desirable tilth. The main objective is to control weeds to incorporate crop stubbles and to restore soil structure.
(ii) Secondary tillage – It refers to shallow tillage operation that is done after primary tillage to bring a good soil tilth. In this operation the soil is stirred and conditioned by breaking the clods and crust, closing of cracks and crevices that form on drying. Incorporation of manures and fertilizers, leveling, mulching, forming ridges and furrows are the main objectives. It includes cultivating, harrowing, pulverizing, raking, leveling and ridging operations.
(iii) Seed bed preparation – It refers to a very shallow operation intended to prepare a seed bed or make the soil to suit for planting. Weed control and structural development of the soil are the objectives.

B. Inter Tillage/Inter Cultivation
It refers to shallow tillage operation done in the filed after sowing or planting or prior to harvest of crop plants i.e.,tillage during the crop stand in the field. It includes inter cultivating, harrowing, hoeing, weeding, earthing up, forming ridges and furrows etc. Inter tillage helps to incorporate top dressed manures and fertilizers, to earth up and to prune roots.

Off Season TillageTillage
Tillage operation is done for conditioning the soil during uncropped season with the main objective of water conservation, leveling to the desirable grade, leaching to remove salts for soil reclamation reduc-ing the population of pest and diseases in the soils. etc. They are:
(a) Stubble or Post harvest tillage – Tillage operation carried out immediately after harvest of crop to clear off the weeds and crop residues and to restore the soil structure. Removing of stiff
stubbles of sugarcane crop by turning and incorporating the trashes and weeds thus making the soil ready to store rain water etc., are the major objectives of such tillage operations.
(b) Summer tillage – Operation being done during summer season in tropics to destroy weeds and soil borne pest and diseases, checking the soil erosion and retaining the rain water through
summer showers. It affects the soil aggregates, soil organic matter and sometimes favour wind erosion. It is called as Kodai uzavu in Tamil Nadu state.
(c) Winter tillage -It is practiced in temperate regions where the winter is severe that makes the field unfit for raising crops. Ploughing or harrowing is done in places where soil condition is optimum to destroy weeds and to improvethe physical condition of the soil and also to incor-porate plant residues.
(d) Fallow tillage – It refers to the leaving of arable land uncropped for a season or seasons for various reasons. Tilled fallow represent an extreme condition of soil disturbance to eliminate all weeds and control soil borne pest etc. Fallow tilled soil is prone to erosion by wind and water and subsequently they become degraded and depleted.

Post Labels: Tillage,Overview,inception,plants,Primitive,tools,word,Anglo,Saxon,words,Jethrotull,Father,DEFINITION,Tillagerefers,manipulation,implements,growth,Tilth,moisture,CHARACTERISTICS,size,distribution,proportion,Higher,diameter,agriculture,percentage,capillary,establishment,penetration,proliferation,extent,pest,aeration,activities,temperature,erosion,infiltration,management,Fine,Coarse,cotton,Season,June,Sept,Special,purpose,onset,Preparatory,preparation,Primary,operation,period,Depth,Secondary,crust,Incorporation,development,Inter,Cultivation,earth,roots,conservation,reclamation,population,Stubble,Post,Summer,Kodai,Tamil,Nadu,Winter,places,disturbance,operations,particles,percentages,diseases,residues,manures,pesticides,crevices,regions,favourable,germination,refers,clods,drainage,favour,fertilizers,stubbles

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<span style='font-size: large;'><b><span style='font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;'>About Admin Author: </span></b></span><br/><br />A M  Awan Currently working as Marketing Executive at Oasis Agro Industries Pakistan, and hobbies to read about agriculture, share latest information with others </p>
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MAKING A HOBBY OF BEEKEEPING

honey-bee-pollinating

Beekeeping, though, is more than just a profit-making activity: it can also be a  fascinating, environmentally sound hobby that can totally absorb you. Beekeeping  in many countries is predominantly a hobby activity. The numbers of commercial  beekeepers who ‘farm’ bees are comparatively few and, in some countries such as the  UK and many other European countries, they are a tiny proportion of the whole, and  the ‘whole’ is but a tiny proportion of the population. Why, then, are governments interested in this small group of people and their hobby?
The answer is that, whether beekeepers are hobbyists or commercial operators, they have bees, and the national agricultural sector and the countryside commissions  rely totally on these bees. The fewer the commercial beekeepers there are, the more  hobbyists are needed to keep these vital sectors going.

Honey-bees are not domestic animals. They are wild and, unlike horses and cows and other livestock, they don’t recognize beekeepers as their ‘owners’. Having said that, recent research has shown that, despite the small size of its brain, a bee can recognize human faces if trained to do so and can remember them for two days. Scientists hope that, by studying this amazing ability further, they will be able to develop better face recognition computer software. It is unlikely, however, that the average beekeeper will  find their bees flocking to them on sight.Bees (like other insects) are assumed to act on instinct alone. However, they can also ‘learn’ – and not only learn a primary task but they can also learn and remember a secondary task resulting from the first. Like most other life forms, their daily life involves family (colony) survival and the propagation of their species.

Soil Sampling

Soil Sampling

Soil testing is the single most important guide to the profitable use of fertilizer and lime. It is in the best interest of farmers, lawn care professionals, landscapers, gardeners, fertilizer suppliers, and consultants to promote the use of soil testing for several reasons like

  • Grow Higher Crop Yields
  • Produce Higher Quality Crops And Ornamentals
  • Use Fertilizer Dollars More Efficiently

The purpose of soil testing is to identify the soil fertility that the plants or crop, in a given area will experience. The soil area and volume could be a large field, a small garden, or simply the root zone of a single tree or shrub. The most difficult step in soil testing is accurately representing the desired area of soil. A laboratory cannot improve the accuracy of a sample that does not represent the area.

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In most soils, it takes more than one year to make significant changes to the soil test levels. As the soil improves with better fertility programs, subsequent crops or plant growth should show increasing rates of improvement. Soils are formed over thousands of years, and are not easily changed in a short time.

Sampling Tools

Tools that may be used to take a sod sample include a spade or shovel, soil sampling tube, or soil auger. Sample tubes or augers should either be stainless steel or chrome plated.

When sampling various soils at different times of the season it is important to use the proper equipment. A soil probe, either a hand tube or hydraulic probe, can be used under most conditions. A small wooden rod may be helpful in removing the soil core from the tube. The soil auger is especially useful when sampling frozen ground or heavily compacted soil that a soil tube can’t penetrate. If a spade is used for sampling, dig a V-shaped hole to sample depth; then cut a thin slice of soil from one side of the hole. if using a pail to collect the soil, it should be plastic to avoid any contamination from trace metals. For instance, soil will pick up zinc from a galvanized pail. When sampling wet soils, vegetable oil or mineral oil may be used to lubricate the probe to minimize soil pushing ahead of the probe.

A Few Universal Basics

1. Soil samples can be taken with a professional soil probe, or simply using a shovel, spade, or garden trowel.

2. Each sample should be composed of from 10 to 15 cores.

3. As you take cores of soil, put them into the plastic bucket. Mix the soil thoroughly in the bucket (galvanized buckets will contaminate the sample with zinc), breaking up all cores. Then, fill the soil bag to the green line (about 1 cup of soil). Discard any extra soil.

Soil Sampling www.agrinfobank.com

Soil Sampling Procedure:

1. Samples are taken separately and away from the road side and heaps of the fertilizers or farm yard manure.

2. Soil Sampling www.agrinfobank.comTake first sample of the soil with the Augar or shovel/spade at the depth of 0 to 15 cm.

3. Take second sample at the depth of 15 to 30 cm.

4. Similarly further samples will be taken from the selected are in the field.

5. Put the simples of soil in the buckets depth wise.

6. Note soil depth with the help of marker on polythene plastic bags.

7. Dry the samples at optimum sun shine.

8. Now store the sample for further analysis.

Soil Sampling www.agrinfobank.com