Minimize your Leaching lo$e$!


The rainy season is finally here and it is already replenishing much needed water to our thirsty environment. Our work is also a bit lighter as our need for irrigating is supplemented by frequent rainfall. This continuous flow of water also comes with some challenges. Excessive leaching of nutrients is a key contributor to rising cost of production at this time of year.

The loss of essential nutrients directly affects plant health and its natural ability to resist pests and diseases. This heavy mobilizing of nutrients away from the root zone could also lead to increased soil acidiy and reduce plant available phosporus. Furthermore Aluminium and Managanesse toxicity could further compromise crop productivity.

The problem is not necessarily the rain but rather how well we manage these natural variables. Providing that rainfall frequency remains around average, there are cerain preventative approaches that we could consider to for better nutrient management.


Choose the right type of fertilizer


Synthetic fertilizers are usually in a form that is readily absorbed by plants, consequently this also leads to rapid   leaching away from the root zone, into our water ways. To achieve maximum yield farmers may often repeat fertilizer applications following prolonged rainfall.


Slow release fertilizers take the form of granules or as compost. These granules work similar to their synthetic counterparts, however they differ based on their rate of solubility over time. Similarly compost acts as a nutrient bank, slowly liquidating its valuable assets throughout the crop cycle.














Additionally compost conditions your soil’s physical structure and allows water to move freely while minimizing loss of topsoil.



There are also soluble fertilizers in either organic or synthetic forms.


These two types of fertilizer share some similarity as they both replenish essential plant nutrients. Additionally however compost tea also inncoculates benefical microorganisms and plant growth regulating substances (PGR’s) which aid in pathogen reduction, nutrient absorbtion and boosting plant’s defence mechanisms against pests and diseases.


We recommend our compost tea to be diluted using a 1:1 ratio with dechlorinated water and applied weekly. Also for top-dressing we recommend our vermicompost  to be applied once every 2- 3 weeks.


Cocoa Flavored Soil, anyone?

This was not the typical world soil day celebration that one would expect! On days like these we are accustomed to high-level celebrations with dignitaries and very modest ‘hello’s and hi’s coupled with firm handshakes and smiles. We also should not forget the philosophical speeches which can have us dreaming occasionally!

World soil day celebration was due to the efforts of The UWI, Faculty of Food and Agriculture and FAO. The celebration started with a folk dance and dramatization of man’s origin and his ongoing relationship with the soil and environment. The involvement of soil in the carnival art-form was very enlighting.



The aroma of cocoa boiling brought some excitement to the taste buds however persons were really surprised to find out that it was a flavoring used to enhance the appeal of soil for body painting.




Please be mindful that not all soils are good for J’ouvert! the science and preparation process requires experience!




The use of soil and by extension agriculture to stimulate behavioral change was another highlight of the day.

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Mr. Francis shared some life-changing experiences through the continuous work being done by the prison officers in helping to reintroduce changed individuals back into society.




Ms. Chen also shared some of the work being done by the Green Market to help create a social safety-net for school students using agriculture.

Other aspects of the day included different sessions focused on the agronomic and environmental relevance of soil.

Soil Diagnostic Services by FFA


All in all! I say a job well done by The UWI and FAO for raising the awareness on a neglected natural resource that needs to be urgently protected or else we all perish!