Principles of Agro Ecology Overview Essay
Agroecology can be defined as the use of ecology to manage agricultural systems, including; ecological, economic, and social factors. An important factor is a soil which has a variety of functions in the ecosystem. Agroecology tries to make a good transition by trying to control the micro-organisms present in the soil that either, directly or indirectly affect the growth of crops. Since agroecology is a holistic approach to agriculture systems based on the natural farming methods, that interrelates all factors of the environment, pumpkins are well-favored by the soils in that part. Pumpkin is a that falls under the plant genus namely; Cucurbita, which is positioned under the family Cucurbitaceae. Pumpkins are monoecious. They have both male and female flowers. Ovaries are smaller relative to the male ones and are found at the base of the flowers (Board of Agriculture 184). The growth of pumpkins requires adequate water supply and sufficient energy requirement. This essay will endeavor to illuminate the water and energy requirements for the effective growth of pumpkins.
Soils Favouring the Growth of Pumpkins
For agroecology to be successful, the soils have to be fertile and well aerated. Micro-organisms present in the soil have a variety of functions. One is that of helping in the breakdown of organic waste that makes up the humus of the soil. Some help in the fixation of nitrogen in the soil. Bigger organisms in the soil help in soil aeration and the formation of good soil structure hence, improving the water retention abilities of the soil. The humus formed by the microorganisms helps in the absorption of minerals by plants because of its soluble form. They also assist in stabilizing the soil ph and because of its dark color; they help in the absorption of energy (Board of Agriculture 195). Bacteria in the soils and root nodules of some plants aid in fixing nitrogen in the earth. Fungi present help in the decomposition of the more resistant materials.
It serves as a medium where plants grow and help in water filtration to the earth. This is important because of the use of soil in the regulation of water flow in lakes and rivers, control of greenhouse effects, and maintenance of air and water quality. Soil is degraded through soil erosion, acidification, pollution, and compaction, accumulation of sodium, and loss of biological activities in the soils. All these activities that degrade the soil can be protected by proper soil management methods that do not only focus on improving the soil productivity but also on improving the quality of the soil. various farming methods help improve the soil quality, by increasing the organic matter through crop rotations, manure application and, the correct and controlled use of farming chemicals, agriculture machinery, and other farming systems. (Teuro, 2).To improve the quality of soil in the fields, there has to be a shift from towards organic alternative low input farming or natural farming.
The Structure, Physiology, and Reproduction of Pumpkins
Pumpkin fruits are globular in structure with orange to orange-greenish in color. Pumpkin has its evolution in the soils of North America. Pumpkins generally prefer temperate, sunny conditions for growth and are commonly grown in Pacific North America. The has a semi-arid, temperate oceanic climate which is quite favorable for the growth of pumpkins. Pumpkins reproduce by seeds. It prefers to grow in soil that has an approximate pH ranging from 6 to 7 and a temperature roughly between sixty to seventy degrees. It is important to grow pumpkins in well-draining soil with plenty of organic material mixed in. As pumpkin requires a lot of nourishment, weeds and other crops should not be allowed to grow around it. Pumpkins prefer soil that is not too wet so water them infrequently but at the same time, each watering should be good and deep soaking one. Magnesium, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Carotenoids are extracted from pumpkin to produce medicinal tablets. Pumpkin seed oil is also commercially available used for cooking purposes. Disorders of the prostate gland, as well as problems such as an irritable bladder, are treated using pumpkin seeds these days.
The Biological Community Interactions of Pumpkins
Pumpkin like other plants is prone to entomological and pathological effects. Frequent dusting and spraying can prevent these parasitic infections.
(SVBs) are a nuisance to pumpkin farmers. The signs and symptoms of Squash Vine Borers infestations include; wilting, sudden changes in ripening, holes, and sawdust-like power on the vine. Once the vine is infected with Squash Vine Borers, the only remedy is complete removal using a sharp object after which fungicide is applied to the area of infection.
However, removal causes more harm to the vine (Teuro). Farmers are therefore advised to apply fungicides the moment the disease symptoms are detected. This is advantageous since fighting the disease once it has spread can be quite costly (Preparing your garden). Pumpkins and microbes form symbiotic relationships. Microbes found in the soil contribute to the growth of pumpkins by enhancing soil fertility and aeration. Mutualism between pumpkins and other organisms such as earthworms, beetles, and termites is crucial since they provide the nutrients for the optimal growth of pumpkins. Because of its dark color, it aids in energy absorption from the sun. Mutualism is therefore very critical for the growth of pumpkins and other plants without which they will not grow well.
Water and Energy Requirements of Pumpkin
For effective nutrient uptake and sustainability, the planting distance should be 2m by 2m, especially in sole cropping. They require less heat for their effective growth. They grow at optimum temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius at day and 18 degrees Celsius at night. Humid environments encourage fungal growth which interferes with the pumpkin growth and quality of the fruit. They are so intolerant to waterlogging. Despite all these, they generally have high water requirements, and as much as 380 ml of water is required for irrigated pumpkins. The plant should be watered by a dripper. Its water use efficiency increases with the applied irrigation water but decreases with a high irrigation level. Its water range lies between normal to moist. This implies that the soil should be kept evenly moist. This calls for regular watering. Overwatering should be avoided. Deep watering should be done once a week. Aged manure and compost act as a reliable sources of energy. (Pumpkin C. pepo 1). Both species of pumpkin belong to the same family but their water and nutrient requirements slightly differ. C. maxima is largely grown in the northwestern pacific but C. pepo can even be grown in dry regions like S. Arabia so long as irrigation can be sustained.
The Role of Pumpkins in Local Food Systems
Pumpkins just like all the major foods in the world can be grown in all areas of the earth provided there are the right temperatures and plenty of water. (Easton & Hartlage 99). Pumpkins are used for medicinal purposes. Pumpkins are also a good source of dietary fiber and have enough quantities of minerals like potassium, magnesium, vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Carotenoids (Easton & Hartlage 123).In North, America pumpkins are used as an ornamental beacon during Halloween. Pumpkin growing has led to the creation of an association called Pacific Northwest Giant Pumpkin Growers (PNWGPG). This and festivals related to giant pumpkins. Pumpkin has high commercial value in America, China, India, and other countries in the world (Langevin 102). Marketing is done by a non-profit organization, which is made up of a group of farmers who sell their produce direct to the consumers and wholesalers. Farmers stretch from Northern Columbia, Canada, and Washington.