This handbook offers a quick and easy reference guide for individuals and organisations that are involved with the production of food, from both agriculture and horticulture. It is designed to be used as a reference book that answers basic questions about how food is produced from plants, and aims to demystify the subject of growing food. The focus is firmly on the technical aspects of food crops; animal husbandry, agrochemicals and genetic engineering are only briefly mentioned.
The book is divided into three sections:
- Principles and Practices used in Agriculture and Horticulture
- Description and Characteristics of the Main Food Crops
- Naming and Classification of Plants, Seed Purchase Procedures, Conversion Tables and Statistics, Planning and Assessing Agricultural Projects
With its strong international flavour, the manual is designed to accessible for those who normally speak or read English as their second language, using simple English terminology and phrasing, with thorough explanations and numerous cross references to the terminology, acronyms and technologies used.
From the reviews: From a review of "Growing Food" by Dr Douglas Saltmarshe: "I know Tony Winch to be an internationally experienced agricultural specialist. He is widely respected and has worked for some of the top development agencies in this capacity. Although I now work internationally with governance and social development issues, the first 20 years of my working life were involved in agriculture. I therefore have some technical knowledge about which Tony Winch is writing. Coming from this background, I am of the view that the work he has undertaken is scientifically sound and gives a useful range of information, which is clearly presented. I feel that the way it is written is simple and straightforward and will be easily understood by a wide range of people for whom English is not a first language. The book will be used as a source of reference for many agricultural advisors and practitioners to assist development understanding about appropriate crops and their methods of cultivation. To my knowledge there is nothing similar which has been developed that comprehensively provides easily understood information covering all significant food crops. It will thus form an important reference work to development practitioners working in the sphere of agriculture. The market for this work should be extensive. It would include a wide range of development agencies, agricultural colleges and institutes and government extension agencies across the world. The market for this type of work is therefore huge. More importantly, the contents of the book are likely to significantly contribute to assisting the reduction of poverty in many parts of the world." "Demystifying crop production for non-experts is the aim of this new handbook. As a reference book it succeeds quite well, covering the principles and practices used in agriculture and horticulture, from plant and soil characteristics, farming systems and crop types, to tools and storage." (New Agriculturist, Issue 3, 2007)
SECTION 1: THE PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICES USED IN AGRICULTURE AND HORTICULTURE A. Plant Growth: a. Plant Propagation; b. Plant Population; c. Leaf Area Index;d. The Root System;e. The Nitrogen Cycle B. Arid Regions: a. Plant / Soil / Water Relationships, b. Plant Reaction to Stress; c. Crop Management in Arid Regions C. Soil: a. Saline Soils; b. Soil Analysis; c. Acid Soils / pH value; d. Trace Elements D. Fertiliser E. The Plant: a. Annual / Biennial / Perennial; b. Botanical Classification; c. Cultivar / Variety; d. Photosynthesis / Respiration; e. Transpiration; f. Wilting; g. Shade Plants / Sun Plants; h. Vegetative Reproduction; i. Determinate / Indeterminate; j. Day length / Photoperiodism; k. Growth Period; l. Tuber; m. Rogue Plant; n. Volunteer Plants F. The Seed: a. Germination;b. Seed Rate; c. Hybrids; d. Composite Varieties; e. Inoculation / Nitrogen Fixation; f. Seed Treatment (Dressing); g. Vernalisation G. Crops: a. Cropping Calendar; b. Break Crops; c. Catch Crops; d. Climbing Crops; e. Companion Crops; f. Cover Crops; g. Pioneer Crops; h. Smother Crops; i. Shade Crops H. Farming Systems: a. Rotation; b. Mixed Cropping; c. Alley Cropping; d. Green Manure; e. Mulch; f. Silage; g. Hay; h. Land Area Measurement I. The Harvest: a. Maturity; b. Yield; c. Haulm J. Insects K. Diseases L. Weeds M. Tools N. Irrigation O. Storage SECTION 2: DESCRIPTION AND CHARACTERISTICS OF THE MAIN FOOD CROPS A. Cereals: Barley, Buckwheat, Maize, Millet, Oats, Rice, Sorghum, Teff , Wheat B. Legumes: Broad Bean / Horse Bean / Field Bean, Chickpea, Cowpea, Field Pea, Groundnut / Peanut, Haricot / French Bean, Lentil, Lima Bean, Mungbean, Pigeon Pea, Soybean, Vetch / Grass Pea / Chickling Pea C. Oilseeds: Castor, Linseed, Niger Seed, Sesame, Sunflower D. Root Crops: Cassava /Manioc, Irish Potato, Sweet Potato, Taro, Yam E. Vegetables: Cabbage, Carrot, Cucurbits, Okra , Onion , Pepper, Tomato F. Fruits: Avocado, Banana, Citrus, Guava, Mango, Papaya / Pawpaw, Watermelon G. Under exploited Crops: Amaranth, Bambara Groundnut, Buffalo Gourd, Leucaena, Lupin, Tepary Bean, Winged Bean / Four-angled Bean SECTION 3 3A Naming and Classification of Food Crops 3B Seed Purchase Procedures 3C Conversion Tables and Statistics 3D Some issues to consider when planning or assessing agricultural projects Bibliography Index
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Tony Winch was born and raised on an agricultural research farm in Kent. After graduating in 1971 from Wye College (London University) with a BSc (2.1) in Agricultural Economics he worked for a number of years in the commercial seed trade in the UK, Brazil, Canada and North America. Since 1980 he has worked in the agricultural aid and development sector, employed by a number of agencies to work as an agricultural consultant in Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Angola and Afghanistan. When he is not overseas he liv es in Herefordshire, UK and attempts to feed his family as far as possible from the garden.