By Bob WesterfieldUniversity of GeorgiaWarm weather is a welcome sight for gardeners. But the problems it brings with insects and disease are not. Fortunately, there are several things we can do to help prevent and control them.As you begin to establish your vegetable garden, put most of your money and energy in the soil. Unless you are one of the lucky few with good bottom soil, great garden soil must be created. Soil testing will provide a recipe for fertilizer and lime if needed. Maintaining proper nutrition will go a long way to healthier, pest-resistant plants.Soil amendments are also critical. Compost, bagged top soil or aged manures should be added into organic-deficient sands or clay. The addition of organic amendments will create large spaces between soil particles and better drainage and oxygen exchange. This leads to more vibrant plants.Another technique to stop pest problems is through crop rotation. By planting different families of vegetables in different areas of the garden, we can essentially “starve out” localized pests. For instance, tomatoes and potatoes are in the same vegetable family and should never be planted in the same spot during the same year.Encourage beneficial insects. There is a whole army of good insects out there ready to control most of your pests if you just learn to coax them in. Avoid wide-spread applications of broad spectrum insecticides, particularly early in the day when most of the beneficial and pollinating insects are present. Consider planting colorful flowers or perhaps a bed of wildflowers to attract predator insects and pollinating bees. Although you can purchase beneficial insects such as lady beetles or lace wings, it is doubtful that they will do much good on the small acreage of a typical home garden.Resistant varieties can also be used. Varieties of vegetables are readily available that may be disease or insect resistant to a number of problems. Remember, sometimes the downside of very resistant varieties is less flavor compared to old standbys.Consider ventilation in your garden when planting rows or laying out tomato cages. Crowded plants that have no room for air movement around them can lead to disease problems. Allowing a few feet around plants gives room to move around and harvest without damage to the plant and allows air to dry off plants.Irrigation is also a critical management strategy. Plants should be watered at the ground level when possible. Overhead irrigation should be avoided. The use of soaker hoses or irrigation tape is an excellent way to keep foliage dry and help control moisture-loving diseases. Remember to water plants at night or early in the morning and only when plants need it. Usually, a garden only needs water once or twice a week. Overwating can lead to problems.We don’t want to grow the largest squash or cucumber when freshness and flavor are involved. Harvesting early and frequently will ensure a continued production and helps to prevent damaging disease and insects that can easily detect aging fruit or vegetables. Finally, if there is a need to spray for control of a pest, consider the least toxic route first. There is often a safe organic alternative way to control pests without the use of something more toxic. Frequent scouting by walking through the garden regularly will help reveal problems early and sometimes just hand picking a few bugs is all it takes for control.By following a few simple procedures it is possible to have close to a perfect garden. It’s a matter of creating great soil, using defensive tactics and keeping a careful watch.
Raymond acknowledged deep concern about the recent spate of foodborne disease outbreaks but said he had expanded the USDA’s inspection and testing program to combat it, according to the story. “The measures are a reflection of our concern about the Canadian inspection system based on the audit findings of May 1June 6, 2007, and the circumstances related to the unsafe practices employed by Rancher’s Beef, Ltd.,” the Balzac, Alta., packing plant whose products were linked to the contaminated Topps ground beef, James wrote. The increased inspections, ground beef testing for E coli, and testing of ready-to-eat products “will be at the rate of approximately double that of the past year for Canada,” James’s letter states. Nov 8, 2007 (CIDRAP News) Starting tomorrow, US inspection and testing of imported Canadian meat and poultry products will roughly double and will include a category of beef products that has not previously been subject to testing, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said today. Begin E coli testing of raw beef trim, boxed beef, and “subprimals” (smaller cuts of meat from the major carcass components, such as loin, chuck, and round) normally sent for grinding See also: The expanded program will continue while two USDA teams finishing inspecting the Rancher’s Beef facility, seven other Canadian facilities that were flagged for problems in the last USDA audit, and some slaughter plants that are similar to the Alberta facility in their “start-up and operations,” James wrote. Raymond said the FSIS has adequate tools to ensure food safety and does not need legislation granting mandatory product recall authority, according to a CongressDaily report today. (In contrast, this week the Bush administration, in a new food protection plan prepared by the Food and Drug Administration, said the FDA needs the authority to compel food recalls.) The USDA announced Nov 3 it would increase inspections and testing of Canadian products this week, after beef trim from an Alberta meat producer was implicated in an E coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to ground beef sold by Topps Meat Co. of Elizabeth, N.J. But in the initial announcement the agency gave few details about the testing plan. The USDA released more information today in a letter from Dr. William James of the agency’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). The letter, published online by the FSIS, said the agency would: Testifying before the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry, Raymond said, “We think our present system works well,” and added that meat processors have always cooperated with the USDA on recalls, the report said. “In two recent cases FSIS acted upon epidemiological evidence that linked illness to opened, FSIS-inspected product found in consumers’ freezers, where previously, we believed the agency needed a test result from an intact or unopened package because of the possibility of cross-contamination [from other foods],” he was quoted as saying. He said that product lots will be held at import houses until samples test negative for pathogens. If a sample tests positive, the lot it came from will be rejected. However, FSIS “will consider submitted alternatives to holding product at import houses pending test results,” the letter says. Policy change revealedRaymond said the E coli outbreak traced to Topps Meat has prompted one particular change in the FSIS’s policies, according to a report today by Meatingplace.com. James also said the new precaution of testing beef trim, boxed beef, and subprimals normally destined for grinding will be permanent and will be extended to all exporting countries starting at the beginning of 2008. Oct 29 CIDRAP News story “E coli in Topps beef traced to Canadian firm”http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/fs/food-disease/news/oct2907beef.html Increase testing of raw ground beef for E coli O157:H7 Increase testing of ready-to-eat products for Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella Raymond also said he didn’t believe “risk-based inspection” would have prevented the Topps outbreak, according to Meatingplace.com. Risk-based inspection is the name for a USDA proposal to focus more of its attention on meat and poultry plants that have weak safety records. FSIS letter about increased testing of Canadian productshttp://www.fsis.usda.gov/PDF/Canada_O157_Testing_Letter.pdf “I believe that we need to take additional time to strengthen our system and our data collection capabilities before moving forward” with risk-based inspection, Raymond was quoted as saying. Increase inspections of Canadian meat, poultry, and pasteurized egg products Nov 5 CIDRAP News story “USDA to increase testing of Canadian meat”http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/fs/food-disease/news/nov0507beef.html Official defends FSIS recordIn related news, the FSIS’s handling of meat recalls was defended by USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Richard Raymond in testimony before a congressional committee yesterday. E coli contamination has prompted 19 meat recalls so far this year, compared with eight for all of last year. The Topps recall involved more than 21 million pounds of ground beef and forced the company out of business.
The ASEAN Para Sports Federation (APSF) has indefinitely postponed the 10th ASEAN Para Games, which were set to take place from Mar. 21 to 27 in the Philippines, amid concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.The federation’s board of governors secretary Osoth Bhavilai said in a letter to the Indonesian National Paralympic Committee that Philippine Paralympic Committee president Michael Barredo had written to the APSF president requesting the postponement of the international sporting event, citing concerns over the ongoing threat of the novel coronavirus in the Philippines.“In the interest of public health, safety and security, we write to respectfully inform you of the board’s decision to strongly recommend the indefinite postponement of the 2020 ASEAN Para Games, given the risks presented by this novel coronavirus health crisis,” Barredo wrote in the letter. After careful deliberation among executive committee members regarding “the physical and emotional well-being of all participating para athletes and staff”, Bavilai said the majority of the members agreed that the 10th ASEAN Para Games hosted by the Philippines should be postponed indefinitely, with possible reconsideration within the year if the coronavirus outbreak could be effectively contained.Read also: Minister: ‘Not sending athletes to Manila Paragames an option if things get worse’This is the second time the 10th ASEAN Para Games have been postponed. The ASEAN Para Games Committee previously announced that the games, which were supposed to take place in the Philippines in January, would be delayed until March for technical reasons.The Philippines reported the first death outside of China from the novel coronavirus on Feb. 2, as reported by AFP. The person who died in the Philippines was a Chinese man coming from Wuhan, the outbreak’s epicenter, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.In late January, the Philippines stopped issuing visas on arrival to Chinese nationals, in a bid to keep the southeast Asian nation free of the deadly virus.Topics :
Medeama boosted their chances of reaching the group stage of the CAF Confederation Cup after a 2-0 win against Zambia’s Zesco at home.Goals by Nathaniel Asamoah and Michael Helegbe in either half at the Essipon Stadium on Sunday secured the Mauves victory.Carlos Roberto Paulette will be hoping Medeama, who travel for the return at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola on March 29 will come good against the three-time Zambian champions.Asamoah scored the opener in the first half before Helegbe doubled their lead from the spot after the break.Medeama must secure an aggregate victory over Zesco and await whichever Champions League side that drops to the Confederations Cup in the final qualifying round.