Agricultural Soil Amendment Project

Project Overview

FW11-017
Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2011: $14,870.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2011
Region: Western
State: Arizona
Principal Investigator:
Bill Edwards
North Leupp Family Farms
Co-Investigators:

Annual Reports

Commodities

  • Vegetables: beans, cucurbits

Practices

  • Crop Production: crop rotation, cover crops
  • Education and Training: farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research
  • Pest Management: competition
  • Production Systems: holistic management
  • Soil Management: green manures, soil microbiology, organic matter

    Summary:

    This project was conducted at the North Leupp Family Farms (NLFF).

    NLFF is a 100 acre a organically farmed, native/community owned farm in the Western Agency of the Navajo Nation in the state of Arizona.

    The project's goals were to teach and demonstrate to Native Navajo farmers soil improvement. ASAP demonstrated how to increase the soil nutrient content, improve soil quality, increase crop yield, and reduce alkaline buildup through the addition of soil amendments, composting, and cover cropping. What sets this project apart is the use of Mycorrhizae fungi as a major component of the soil amendment process, along with the cover crop of annual rye, Dutch clover, field peas, tiller radish, and hairy vetch.

    Introduction

    ASAP conducted the soil management project using four ½ acre demonstration plots.

    One plot was the control and three others were comparison plots.

    All plots were planted with Navajo White Corn, Tepary beans, Pinto beans, and Navajo summer and winter squash.

    What sets this project apart is the use of Mycorrhizae fungi as a major component of the soil amendment process, along with the cover crop of annual rye, Dutch clover, field peas, tiller radish, and hairy vetch.

    “Over millions of years, mycorrhizal fungi and plants have formed a mutual dependence. The fungi are nourished by root exudates and in return bring great amounts of soil nutrients and moisture to their host plants. A mycorrhizal plant can uptake 100 times or more nutrients than one without the beneficial fungi.”

    Dr. Michael Martin Melendrez

    Project objectives:

    Demostrate Soil Improvement

    The project will teach and demonstrate to Native Navajo farmers soil improvement. ASAP will demonstrate how to increase the soil nutrient content, improve soil quality, increase crop yield, and reduce alkaline buildup through the addition of soil amendments, composting, and cover cropping.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.