Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tilling the garden

Tillage of the corn field is happening as I write! Been in the field all day hooking up irrigation. More on that soon.
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Friday, April 17, 2009

Soil mapping

I've been helping out with soil morphology labs this semester. We spent the last couple of weeks on a soil mapping exercise.
First you start with a map of the area of interest, and locate boring holes.

Once you reach the boring location, you use an auger to bore down to the depth of interest.

Each auger-full of soil is laid out neatly with stick to mark the depth of the auger bucket. Here, the top of the soil is marked with the leaf, and bottom depth is in the upper left.

Some of the soil horizons are clearly visible in this photo.

Each horizon is textured (for the amounts of sand, silt and clay), colored, and noted for other characteristics of interest.

This information will be placed into a GIS application, and a soil map will be made. Maps are then used to determine hydrology, yield potential for various crops, engineering properties, and many other applications.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Recent aggie photos

Here are a few random ag-related photos that I thought might be interesting.

We went to the field yesterday, and the cattle thought we were there to feed them.

Actually, we were there to mark soil sampling sites for tomorrow's lab.

Meet Dr. Joe Kemble. He's on my committee. He's watering in lettuce seeds into "oasis cubes". They are made of pumice stone and are used for hydroponics.

One seed per cube.

This is a shaker. Here, I'm extracting some nutrients (specifically nitrate and ammonium) from some soil samples using 2 molar KCl. The clear tubes you see are blanks.

After extracting the samples, they are filtered. The filtrate is later analyzed using microplates. Tedious work, but better than studying for prelims!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Annual Plant Sale for the Local Food Bank

I helped out at Evie Ratner's and Robin Jaffe's place today, as they get ready for the freeze tonight. They have a lot of plants, which they propagate themselves, that they sell every year for the annual Plant Sale to benefit the East Alabama Food Bank.

This is Evie. The plant sale has become so large that she and her husband cannot manage it by themselves, and they depend on volunteers to help make it happen. The entire operation and sale happens at their home. Everything you see here will be for sale on April 19.

Evie in one of her many greenhouses. She and Robin donate some of their leftover vegetable plants to the Community Garden, which I coordinate.

Their operation doesn't only occupy their entire yard, it also takes over their entire living space. Here you can see how they grow transplants.

More information about their plant sale and information on volunteering can be found here.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Local Food

We went fishing last weekend out of Pensacola, Florida with our friends, Ben and Molly, and his folks.

Emma practices her distress call.

We killed the sheepshead.

On the last shrimp of the day, I caught a baby grouper, which had already swallowed someone else's hook. We did what we could for him before throwing him back.

Cleaning the fish. My job was skinning.

The filet.

And the potatoes.