Thursday, 19 June 2014

"Super" banana to face first human trial

"Super" banana to face first human trial
SYDNEY: A super-enriched banana genetically engineered to improve the lives of millions of people in Africa will soon have its first human trial, which will test its effect on vitamin A levels, Australian researchers said Monday.

The project plans to have the special banana varieties -- enriched with alpha and beta carotene which the body converts to vitamin A -- growing in Uganda by 2020.

The bananas are now being sent to the United States, and it is expected that the six-week trial measuring how well they lift vitamin A levels in humans will begin soon.

"Good science can make a massive difference here by enriching staple crops such as Ugandan bananas with pro-vitamin A and providing poor and subsistence-farming populations with nutritionally rewarding food," said project leader Professor James Dale.

The Queensland University of Technology (QUT) project, backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, hopes to see conclusive results by year end.

"We know our science will work," Professor Dale said.

"We made all the constructs, the genes that went into bananas, and put them into bananas here at QUT."

Dale said the Highland or East African cooking banana was a staple food in East Africa, but had low levels of micro-nutrients, particularly pro-vitamin A and iron.

"The consequences of vitamin A deficiency are dire with 650,000-700,000 children world-wide dying ... each year and at least another 300,000 going blind," he said.

Researchers decided that enriching the staple food was the best way to help ease the problem.

While the modified banana looks the same on the outside, inside the flesh is more orange than a cream colour, but Dale said he did not expect this to be a problem.

He said once the genetically modified bananas were approved for commercial cultivation in Uganda, the same technology could potentially be expanded to crops in other countries -- including Rwanda, parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya and Tanzania.

"In West Africa farmers grow plantain bananas and the same technology could easily be transferred to that variety as well," he said.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Living Lawn Mowers on Roof Garden

Living Lawn Mowers on Roof Garden

Vertical Gardening For Space Utilization and Landscaping

This time of year provides good “thinking” time regarding gardening. It is a time to look back on what went well and what could stand some improvement.

For example, if it seems that your yard needs some more oomph or pizzazz, but you can’t quite put your green thumb on what would help, try looking up and consider growing more plants vertically. It’s a change of perspective that adds interest to your outdoor living space.

Climbing plants are somehow more welcoming, with their living beauty embracing you. In addition, if your yard space is limited, trellises and other support structures make the most of the space you have. Because vines grow upward, you don’t have to worry about them spreading. Also, you may be able to use previously unused areas to add color and interest.

It’s wise to consider the structures you will use before buying plants. Metal, wood, plastic — what fits your garden’s style? What materials do you already have in fences, for example, that would harmonize with a new vine support? Supports can include arbors, trellises, tepees made of branches or bamboo, cages (tomato or bird), string, fences or a major structure such as a pergola.

While a rustic-looking trellis you make from the leftover trimmings from a tree will look charming in a casual garden, it might look out of place in a more formal garden or near a house of modern architecture. Use a design that goes well with its surroundings. Light-colored or white supports create a bold contrast to the mostly green plants that will grow on them. Brown and green structures blend more readily into their surroundings.

Vines can hide or soften fences or other things you’d like to hide. The “cyclone fence” in my backyard looks ever so much better with grapes growing on it. A smaller, softer vine like a passionflower can do wonders to make a sturdy wooden fence seem less so. If you have a dead tree that it would be difficult to remove, plant something substantial-looking, such as a climbing hydrangea, near it. Screen the view of your compost pile, perhaps, or of your neighbor’s backyard.

Consider scale when choosing a support, keeping in mind the plant with which you’d like to pair it. Some vines, such as wisteria or climbing roses, get thick and heavy and need some heft in their support, but a morning glory or moonflower would look out of place on a structure made of two by fours.

Some ideas for vines you might try include morning glory, sweet peas, clematis, scarlet runner beans, sugar snap peas, hops, passionflower, climbing roses, jasmine, honeysuckle, grapes, climbing hydrangea, wisteria, trumpet vine, kiwi and moonflower. And I love my mandevilla on the arbor straddling a flagstone path, even if it takes extra care to keep it alive over the winter.
Building a structure for a vining plant might be a good winter project. Next spring, as you install it before planting, be sure to set it securely, as this is something you want to get right the first time. Set it in the ground even deeper than you might think necessary. Large, heavy structures might need concrete footings.

With some planning, a vertical garden is delightful — it may even become the focal point for your outdoor living area. With its beauty displayed right at eye level, it will be a feast for your senses.
Vertical Gardening For Space Utilization and Landscaping

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Caring for silkworms in summer

 Life Stages of Silk Worm
Life Stages of Silk Worm

Robust growth of silkworms and silk yield are directly influenced by the quality of mulberry leaves fed.

At the same time, climatic condition also plays an equal role as the silkworms are sensitive to the temperature and other abiotic factors.

Silkworms prefer cool climate with moderate humid condition. But in tropical zones, silk productivity is generally low in summer season mainly due to hike in temperature, fall of humidity and other factors like water scarcity, pests in mulberry garden and outbreak of diseases.

Adverse effects

Many farmers partially irrigate mulberry gardens in summer due to water scarcity which yields leaves with poor moisture content. Feeding such leaves results in adverse effect on growth of silkworms and their immunity. Therefore farmers often face crop failure in summer because of disease outbreak.

Earmark mulberry gardens for silkworm rearing according to the availability of water to ensure sufficient irrigation. The leftover gardens can be kept idle without pruning of plants till monsoon.

Drip irrigation helps save water. Black polythene mulching in mulberry garden conserves soil moisture for long time besides controlling weeds and enhances mulberry leaf yield and quality.

Dry and hot conditions result in fast evaporation of moisture from the leaves offered to the worms in the rearing bed and they dry before ingestion. Therefore the growth of worms and silk yield are affected.

Cool atmosphere

Grow trees around the rearing shed to avoid direct sunlight falling on the walls and to keep the atmosphere cool naturally.

Hang moistened gunny cloths around the rearing shed for flow of cool and humid air inside.

Summer encourages sucking pests like thrips, pink mealybug, papaya mealybug etc in mulberry garden which deteriorate the leaf quality. Spray strong jets of water to wash out the pests from the plants.

Release suitable predatory parasitoids in the affected garden according to the pest species. Avoid use of toxic chemicals.

(Dr. N.Sakthivel and Dr. Chikkanna are Scientists, Research Extension Center, Central Silk Board, Srivilliputtur – 626 125, Tamil Nadu & Regional Sericultural Research Station, Salem – 636 003, email:, Mobile: 098427 61789.)

Caring for silkworms in summer

Friday, 6 June 2014

I Want a World

I don't Want to Protect the environment I want to create a world where the environment doesn't need protecting.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Growing Lemon Trees

How to Grow Lemon Trees

By Rifat Abro
The Dawn

A LEMON tree is a sub-tropical plant, and in its natural habitat, its fruit is green and only slightly acidic for the fruit to develop its flavour and yellow color.

The fruit is picked before maturity to preserve its acidity. Most of the species under the genus lemon are native to tropical and sub–tropical regions of southeast Asia, particularly, India, China.

Lemon juice is valued in the home as a stain remover, and a slice of lemon dipped in salt can be used to clean copper-bottomed cooking pots. Lemon juice has been used for bleaching freckles and facial cleansing creams. Lemon peel oil is much used in furniture polishes, detergents, soaps, and shampoos.

This citrus fruit ranks very high in its medicinal value, having many therapeutical uses. Lemon juice is a natural antiseptic which may be safely applied directly to cuts, bruises and infections. Lemon juice is good for asthma, headaches, pneumonia, and arthritis. It is a good general blood and body purifier and a mild diuretic. It is important in perfume blending and especially in colognes.

Lemon is grown in both dry and humid atmospheres, the latter being a disadvantage mainly in the processes of curing and storing. The lemon tree has the reputation of tolerating very infertile, very poor soil.

Recommended soils are sand, clay and sandy–clay–deep, with high permeability and good drainage. Black soils are also suitable if not lying over calcareous sub-soil. Ph should be between 5.5 and 6.5. If acidity is high, it is necessary to apply lime to achieve the optimum level.

Usually, lemon is planted in pits of 50 x 50 x 50cm or of 75 x 75 x 75cm sizes in square system with spacing of 5 to 8 m depending upon the species and rootstocks. For rough lemons or karana khatta wider spacing of 5 x 5 m is adequate.

Though the planting is usually done during the monsoon season, it is better not to plant at the time of heavy rains to avoid any water logging near the planting pits. Weather should not be too wet or too dry at the time of planting.

The rough lemon is widely grown from seed. The ‘Meyer’ lemon is easily reproduced by rooting large cuttings in the nursery and planting them directly in the grove. They fruit two to three years sooner than budded trees and have a long life, remaining in full production for over 30 years, perhaps much longer. In case of lemons, cutting and layering (air layering) are commonly employed and plants thus raised develop shallow but good root system.

Remove congested growth in early spring, and pinch out shoot growing tips in summer. If renovation is required prune back by two-thirds in early spring. Pruning lemon trees should be confined to trimming extremely long branches that become untidy or new branches that cross over others, they do not require any special pruning to encourage flowers as these will be produced naturally shoot tips and wood old enough to bear them.

Irrigation is of vital importance to lemon orchard and it is considered as one of the most critical culture operations. About the method of irrigation, suggested that young trees up to eight years may be profitably irrigated by basin system. Other irrigation methods applied are flood, furrow, sprinkler methods.

The application of irrigation in right time and in right quantity is more important than the method of irrigation. Usually, under local condition weekly irrigation during March to June and fortnightly irrigation during November to February are practiced.

For sustained production and to maintain proper orchard health it is essential to apply manures and fertilisers to lemon orchard regularly. For non–bearing tree, fertiliser application may be done in an area more than drip circle, leaving 15 -30 cm radius around the tree trunk.

The marketability of lemons depends on the stage at which they are picked. Lemons were allowed to remain on the trees until they became too large. It was realised that early picking is necessary.

Some growers adopted the practices of picking at any time after the fruits reach 25 per cent juice content, and using rings to gauge the commercially acceptable size, and repeated spot-picking with clippers. Mechanical picking is impossible with lemons. The fruits are highly prone to oil spotting (oleocellosis) and cannot handle roughly nor picked wet.

In Pakistan, a 6-year-old tree bore 966 fruits and at 9 years of age, had produced a total of 3,173 fruits.

Friday, 30 May 2014

Mealybugs Management in Greenhouse

Mealybugs Management in Greenhouse

Chilling greenhouse plants upto 36F (2.2C) for two days could deter mealybugs for atleaset 2 straight months. Two days chilling most likely dont affect the health of the plant and is organic way to curb the infestation.

Mealybugs Management in Greenhouse

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

No War Garden

Palestinian woman collects tear gas canisters fired by Israeli Army. She grows flowers in them.
Palestinian woman collects tear gas canisters fired by Israeli Army. She grows flowers in them.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Rabbit Farming for Meat

Rabbit Farming for Meat

To fulfill the food demand for growing population, we have to find out different ways of food production. The rabbit known as "Micro-Livestock" can be a great source of food production. 

There is a great opportunity of rabbit farming in our country. Rabbit needs small place and less food for survival. Rabbit meat contains high ratio of protein, energy, calcium and vitamin than other species of animal.

The cholesterol fat and sodium is less than other meat. The meat of rabbit is very testy, easily consumed and all religious people can eat it. They grows very fast and the female rabbit produce 2-8 baby every time.

They eat very low quality food and make high quality of meat. Raising rabbit can be a great income source to the unemployed people and landless farmers. So, we have to raise rabbit to meet the demand of protein as well as to reduce poverty from our society.

We generally raise rabbit as pet. But if we raise them commercially then it will be a great source of income and a smart way of employment. The annual demand of meat in our country is about six million tons. But only one million tons of meat produced in our country, rest of the meat we import from foreign country.

According to the demand only 15-20 percent of animal protein comes from the livestock which is very less compared to the requirement. Further, this demand is increasing with population growth.

An adult person needs 120 grams of meat daily. But we get only 20 grams on an average. So, we can consider rabbit farming as a potential direction of animal protein. It is very easy to maintain rabbit farm than other animals. Every person of the family can take care of it.

Species of Rabbit:

There are many species of rabbit are available in our country. Among those Dark Gray (internal), Fox, Dutch, New Zealand White, New Zealand Black, New Zealand Red, Belgium White and Chinchilla are most favorite.

Rabbit Meat Quality

In many research it has found that, young rabbit meat is very high quality than the adult rabbit meat. And the meat quality of male rabbit is high than female rabbit meat.

The quantity of cholesterol and lipids increases and reduces protein with the increase of the rabbit age. On the other hand, female rabbit meat contains more lipid, fat and cholesterol.

Benefit of Rabbit Farming:

There are many benefits of farming rabbit. The main benefits of raising rabbit according to our country economic and ecological condition are described bellow.

  • The rabbit is a very fast breeding animal.
  • Their food converting rate is better than other animals.
  • One female rabbit can give birth 2-8 baby rabbit at a time.
  • Rabbit can be raised in a short place.
  • More production can be made in little cost.
  • Rabbit meat is very nutritious.
  • In meat production it has a place after poultry.
  • Wast material of the kitchen, grass, plant leaves etc. are favorite food of rabbit. So, we can raise them using this commodities.
  • Family labor can be successfully applied to rabbit farming.

Method of Raising Rabbit:

With a small investment we can make house for rabbit in our house yard or in building roof and start rearing rabbit. We can make house for rearing rabbit in two methods.

Deep Litter Method:

This method is suitable for less amount of rabbit. The floor should well made concrete. 4-5 inches depth litter should make with husk, rice straw or wood lath. In this method at most 30 rabbit can be raised. The male rabbit should keep in a separate room from the female. In this method the possibilities of being affected by diseases is high. Moreover, it is very difficult to manage the rabbit in this system.

Cage Method:

To keep rabbit commercially this method is the best. In this system the rabbit are kept in a cage made with iron plate. This cage is very useful for raising more rabbit. In every cage it have to have the facilities of necessary space. Male and female rabbit should keep separate from each other. They should keep in same rood when thy need mating to produce baby rabbit.

Food Management

Food consuming rate and nutrient requirements varies according to the rabbit age and species. For proper nutrition of an adult rabbit its food should contain 17-18 percent crude protein, 14 percent fiber, 7 percent minerals and 2700 kilo calorie/kg of metabolic energy.

Green leafy vegetables, seasonal vegetable, spinach greens, carrots, Muller, cucumber, green grass and vegetable wast can easily used as the food of rabbit. For commercial purpose poultry food can be served to feed the rabbit. Accordance with proper food management they should supply sufficient water according to their demand. Thus a farmer can be success in rabbit farming. 

Friday, 23 May 2014

How Plants Filter The water

How Plants Filter The water

How hot is hot?

How hot is hot?

The pungency or heat of a pepper depends on seven closely related alkaloids or capsaicinoids. In the early 1900s, Wilbur L. Scoville devised a test to determine the relative hotness of different peppers. 

Capsaicin from a known weight of pepper was extracted with alcohol and mixed in various concentrations with sweetened water. Human tasters were asked to identify the point at which water neutralized the hotness. 

The volume of water required for each sample was assigned a rating in Scoville units—the larger the number, the more water needed and the hotter the pepper. A high-pressure liquid chromatography test replaced this technique in the early 1980s, but the measurements are still expressed in Scoville units. 

The following peppers are listed from most hot to least hot, according to Scoville units.

  • Caribbean Red_______________________100,000–445,000
  • Red _______________________________80,000–285,000
  • Scotch Bonnet________________________80,000–260,000

Jamaican Hot_________________________100,000–200,000
Charleston Hot
Thai Dragon____________________________35,000–45,000
De Arbol_______________________________15,000–30,000
Yellow Wax______________________________5,000–15,000
Big Jim
New Mexico
Bell________________________________________________ 0
False Alarm
Sweet Banana
Sweet Italian

How hot is hot?

Seeds Sprouting and Soaking Chart

Seeds Sprouting and Soaking Chart

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Pink Lilies

Pink Lilies

Why should we grow guar?

Why should we grow guar?

GUAR is an important leguminous crop which is extremely drought resistant and can be grown in semi-arid regions. The guar bean has a large endosperm, which contains significant amounts of primary marketable product, guar gum. 

The guar gum, also called guaran, is extracted from the seed of the leguminous shrub Cyamopsis tetragonolobus (Leguminosae), which is grown in arid and semi-arid regions of Sindh and Punjab. It is termed as the best substitute for locust bean gums. Manufacturing of gum from its beans gives such astonishing results that it is considered 'white gold'. 

The guar is dicotyledonous (oval-shaped) seed having a diameter of about 8mm. Galactomanan is the essential ingredient of guar that gives it unique thickening, binding and stabilising properties. 

In order to obtain pure galactomanan, the endosperm is separated from the hull and germ. The relative composition of a guar seed comprises 14-17 per cent hull, 43-47 per cent germ and 34-36 per cent endosperm. The production process is optimised to extract maximum levels of galactomanan from seeds of differing content by using a multi-stage grinding and sifting process. Guar is used as cattle feed and green manure and can be eaten as a green bean. 

Guar plant grows well under a wide range of soil conditions. It thrives best in fertile, medium textured and sandy loam soils, with good structure and well-drained subsoil. Under irrigated condition it should be sown from April to July but in rain-fed regions sowing should be completed before monsoon. 

The plant cannot stand water-logging conditions, although it is considered to be tolerant to both soil salinity and alkalinity. The crop tolerates high temperatures and dry conditions, and is adapted to arid and semi-arid climates. Ideally, guar requires two showers before sowing, one spell during budding and another one at the time of blossoming. Too much of precipitation can lead to vigorous vegetative growth, reducing the number of pods and/ or the number of seeds per pod, affecting the size and yield of seeds. 

Guar is a photo-sensitive crop and it flowers and matures when sown in the kharif season. On maturity, the seedpods are brown and dry, and seed moisture content is less than 14 per cent. During harvesting, small plants are either uprooted or cut from the stem and kept in the open for drying. Seeds are taken out of the beans, either mechanically or manually at the farm level, so that they do not shatter. 

The properties of guar powder, which make it useful in various applications, include its easy solubility in cold and hot water, film forming ability, resistance to oils, greases and solvents, good thickening agent, water binding capacity, high viscosity and functioning at low temperatures. Given the versatility in its use for food, feed and industrial applications, guar and its derivatives attract good demand from the industrial/food-processing sector. It is a useful fodder crop and as a leguminous plant it also adds nitrogen to the soil, thereby enriching soil quality. Crop residues (stubble and header trash) are a source of valuable, high protein animal feed. The crop can also be used to produce high quality hay. 

Its seed (bean) is mainly used to produce guar gum, which has wide-ranging applications. In cosmetics, especially shampoos and toothpastes, guar gum is used primarily as a thickening and suspending agent. In beverages, it is used as stabiliser for preparing chocolate drinks and juices. Guar is also widely used in tobacco, leather, insecticides and pesticides, crayons, adhesives etc. Industrial application of guar gum includes the textile industry where guar gum's excellent thickening properties are used for textile sizing, finishing and printing. In the paper industry guar is used as an additive where it gives denser surface to the paper used in printing. In the explosive industry guar is mixed in ammonium nitrate, nitroglycerine and oil explosives, where it helps maintain the explosive properties of the product even in wet conditions. Guar is an important natural food supplement with high nutritional value, for weight gain and cholesterol reduction. 

End uses of guar India accounts for 80 per cent of the total guar produced in the world and 70 per cent is cultivated in Rajasthan. Pakistan, Sudan and parts of US are the other major guar growing countries. Over 75 per cent of guar gum or their derivatives produced in India are exported mainly to US and European countries. 

The consumption pattern of guar seeds is largely determined by the demand from the petroleum industry of the US and the oilfields in the Middle East. The US alone contributes to around 70,000 tons of guar and its derivatives demand. Also, in rest of the world, the trend of consumption has increased with time that has lead to the introduction of this crop in many countries 

The world's total production of guar seed hovers around 10-15 lakh tones. In Pakistan, guar is grown in Punjab, Multan, Muzaffargarh, Layyah, Mianwali, Sargoda, Bahawalpur, Banawalnagar and Sindh province. Global demand for guar seed has increased over the years with a steep rise in demand in the recent times on account of its increasing use in petroleum industry. 

The production of guar in Pakistan has slightly declined. Churi and Korma are in a good demand for cattle feed in domestic as well as overseas markets as the prices of oil meal are quite high this year. So, the overall fundamentals of guar looks strong as decline in arrivals expected in the off-season is likely to bring some premiums to the prices in the coming months. 

There is an urgent need to make a plan to develop varieties with high production of guar gum. The production of guar and guar gum could be increased as it can be used inoil well drilling, ice cream, dairy products soups and gravies, bakery products, noodles, pet food, textile cosmetics pharmaceuticals explosives and mining industries. It is a natural product so it can be used in food products without any hazards. 

There is possibility to grow two crops of guar in a year provided irrigation facilities are present. The world market for guar gum is estimated at somewhat 2-2.5 lakh tons annually. Guar should be promoted as a cash crop and should not be ignored and attention on it should be given as to other crops like cereals, fibre and oilseed crops.

The Dawn

Companion planting

Companion planting in gardening and agriculture is the planting of different crops in proximity for pest control, pollination, providing habitat for beneficial creatures, maximizing use of space, and to otherwise increase crop productivity. Companion planting is a form of polyculture.


Companion planting

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Extraordinary full-length shot of the 'President': this 3,200-year-old tree is so huge it took 126 photos to show it all

Extraordinary full-length shot of the 'President': this 3,200-year-old tree is so huge it took 126 photos to show it all

  • Tree in Nevada's Sequoia National Park is 3,200 years old and 247 feet tall
  • National Geographic captured full-length shot using innovative technique
  • Judged on mass, the 'President' is 'likely the biggest' tree on the planet


Meet the ‘President’.

The giant sequoia tree in Nevada’s Sequoia National Park is 3,200 years old, has 2 billion leaves and stands 247 feet (74 metres) tall.

The portrait of the giant tree, taken by National Geographic, is actually a mosaic, made up of 126 photographs in order to capture the stunning full-length shot.

The President is by no means the tallest tree in the world – that honour goes to a California redwood, which stands 379 feet (116 metres) tall – but in terms of mass, it is one of the largest.
‘We know that there are trees that have bigger trunks, but when you add up all of the wood beside the main trunk – all of the limbs, all of the branches, all of the bio-mass above the ground – this tree is likely the biggest,’ said Steve Sillett from Humboldt State University.

The stunning shot of the tree was featured as a five page fold-out in the December 2012 edition of National Geographic.

‘The reason we want to do these portraits – people get it. When they see the tree in its totality without distortion, they gasp,’ said photographer Michael Nichols.

The photographic team captured the pictures using an innovative rigging technique, which was pioneered by Mr Nichols in 2009, when created an 84-image composite of a 300-foot-tall redwood tree.

Giant sequoias live at high elevations and can endure cold, heavy snow and even lightning strikes. They grow in bulk and not as high as coast redwoods.

Extraordinary full-length shot of the 'President': this 3,200-year-old tree is so huge it took 126 photos to show it all

Monday, 19 May 2014

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Camel milk: a miracle cure for children with autism?

Camel milk: a miracle cure for children with autism?

Dubai: Can camel milk help children with autism?

Two American mothers who sourced camel milk from the Middle East say it definitely can, citing circumstantial evidence of their children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) responding positively after therapy that included camel milk.

Author Christina Adams shared her camel milk story with XPRESS following a meet-up organised by Autism UAE, Stepping Stones, Child EIMC and Emirates Industry for Camel Milk and Products (EICMP) at The Majlis Dubai, a new camel milk cafe next to Jumeirah Mosque.
American-born Zeba Khan, who learnt about camel milk’s benefits for autistic children only about two years ago, seconded the claim.

Autism by three

“My son,” said Adams, “was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) at three years of age. He suffered loss of language at 15 to 18 months, hyperactivity, sensitivity to noise and fixation on objects and water. He had difficulty interacting with others, while biting and engaging in aggressive behaviour which led to dismissal from two pre-schools.”

In 2005, when her son Jonah was seven, Adams published A Real Boy: A True story of Autism, Early Intervention and Recovery in which she outlined a mother’s challenge in dealing with the lifelong disorder. The book got rave reviews on

But that was before she learnt about camel milk through a chance meeting with a man who brought a camel to a California book fair later that year.

“The camel man told me a story about how camel milk was used to help premature babies in the Middle East and was thought to be non-allergenic. That triggered two thoughts in my mind: one, that it may help my son be healthier and, two, it’s a good milk substitute.”

Like ASD kids, Jonah had food intolerances and allergies, skin problems, auditory processing delay, expressive/receptive language delay, constipation, among other disorders.

Adams spent the next two years studying about camel milk, talking to experts and potential sources. A Pakistani-American friend then offered to get her camel milk from Palestine, but the shipment was confiscated at JFK Airport as she did not have import permits.

In 2006, she came across a paper a veterinarian had written about how camel milk eased symptoms of autism. That fired Adams up: Desperate to get her hands on raw frozen camel milk, she finally obtained a permit after securing a doctor’s prescription. “I was the first person in the US to get an import permit for camel milk for medical purposes,” she said.

First taste

Adams said she spent about $2,000 (Dh7,346) per shipment for raw frozen camel milk. On October 10, 2007, two weeks before Jonah’s 10th birthday, he drank his first cup of camel milk.
“The rest,” she said, “is history… the morning after my son ingested camel milk, he demonstrated astonishing improvement in behaviour including eye contact, communication, emotional expression (“I really love you”; “You do so much for me”) and self-organisation.”

Adams wrote a patient report Autism Disorder Treated with Camel Milk detailing her experience published in the November 2013 issue of Global Advances in Health and Medicine, a peer-reviewed US medical journal.

Fortunately for her, Adams had recently also found farmers in the US with small camel herds producing somewhere near her California home which brought the cost down to about $200 per shipment.

Lat week Adams was in Dubai for the first time to share her experience about the therapeutic effects camel milk had on her son, who is now 16, at the autism group meet-up.

“Dubai is heaven for me. Camel milk here is quite affordable (Dh15 per litre) and widely available. In the US, the biggest herd is about 40 camels, owned by farmers in some rural areas.”

Another mother

Mother of two Zeba Khan said her son (she does not want him to be named), now seven, was repeatedly misdiagnosed by paediatricians.

Khan, who is now director of Autism UAE, which offers early intervention therapy services, said: “At least three paediatricians had checked on him and each time they’d say: ‘Give him more time’. But that’s the worst thing to do, because with an autistic child you need to intervene as early as possible. The biggest red flag is if a child is not talking by age two. My son spoke no words till almost four.”

She said both her children had regular tummy ache due to lactose intolerance. “The day we took him off cows milk was the day he slept through the night. This gave him more ability to pay attention and learn more,” she added.

“For me, the evidence (on the benefits of camel milk for easing symptoms of autism) is no longer just anecdotal,” said Khan.

Another parent, however, said his autistic child showed no noticeable improvement after having fresh camel milk.

Camel milk has been touted as a new wonder food in many quarters. Dr Jutka Juhasz, head veterinarian at EICMP, the company behind Camelicious, said there’s been very little research on camel milk’s benefits in general. Her company recently obtained a permit to export camel milk products to Europe.

- Jay Hilotin is the Tablet Editor, GN - Publishing Editorial

- Christina Adams, author of “A Real Boy: A True story of Autism, Early Intervention and Recovery”, can be reached at or Twitter @camelmilkinfo

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Checking Goat Temperature

Normal goat temp is 102.5-104 degrees F. 

Above normal temp is an indication of infection which may require antibiotics.

Below normal temp is often fatal and indicates a critically ill animal and needs immediate care. Always take a goat’s temp rectally.

Checking Goat Temperature

Growing Sunflowers

Sunflowers are one of the easiest plants to grow. You can try planting some of the seeds you buy at the grocery store if they are still in the shell, and they might grow. 

However, there's a good chance that they won't become the big sunflowers you sometimes see or make many more seeds. You need special seeds that have been saved just for planting. 

When you are ready to plant them, get the spot ready by digging it up and taking out all the rocks and weeds. 

Poke holes in the dirt with your fingers and drop a single seed in each hole. Cover the seeds and give them a good drink of water with a garden hose or a watering can, and then wait about two weeks until you see the first green sprouts pop up. 

Keep watering them during that time if the soil gets dry or it doesn't rain much, since they need lots of water to start growing.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Growing Cats

When planting cats makes sure to space them 6 inches apart so they have room to grow.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Bio inputs give better yield for brinjal growers

Bio inputs give better yield for brinjal growers
Jivamrita is a growth enhancer which is used for almost all crops like paddy, vegetables and flowers. 

There is a general view that agriculture is not a remunerative profession. But for those who continue to do farming, there seems to be no choice. Either they leave the fields fallow or sell the lands for quick money.

“Reasons for being unremunerative are many like high cost of inputs, inability to break even in profit, marketing etc. But in spite of all these problems there are people like Mr. P. Muniratnam Naidu in Kasturikandriga village, Tirupati Rural Mandal, Chittoor district for whom agriculture is lucrative.

New house

Mr. Muniratnam owns about two acres and in the last two years he has been able to construct a new pucca house from the income he got from his land by growing brinjals (common variety available in the market).

“This is considered big news among many farmers in the region. In fact, after getting to know Muniratnam’s details, several farmers started getting into brinjal cultivation. Today an entire street in Muniratnam’s locality is named as Brinjal Street,” says Dr. K. Gangadharam, General Secretary, Welfare Organisation For Rural Development (Word) an NGO in Tirupathi in Chittoor.

Commendable work

Word has spread among farmers in the district on the need to promote the cause of organic and sustainable agriculture.

“The crop was initially grown in 60 cents which was later extended to an acre. In the remaining one acre, groundnut, onions and some vegetables were grown. The income from brinjal was quite noteworthy for me. I harvested nearly 12 tonnes in three months earning about Rs. 96,000 as gross income while the net income was Rs. 60,000.

Annual income

“In a year I earned Rs. 2,40,000 from brinjal alone. I make my own inputs after getting trained by Word and hardly spent much protecting the crop against the dreaded fruit borer that affects it,” says a smiling Muniratnam.

Presently more than 300 farmers in the region are using the indigenous bio inputs such as jivamrita, agniastra and neem astra, according to Dr. Gangadharam.

“Our organisation has been trained by Mr. Subash Palekar, in zero budget farming and in turn we are teaching our farmers to practise the same,” he says.

Jivamrita is a growth enhancer which is used for almost all crops like paddy, vegetables and flowers.

It is made by adding 10 kg of desi cow dung and 10 litres of urine dissolved in 200 litres of water. To this two kg of jaggery (or four litres of sugarcane juice) and pulse flour each (any pulse) is added and stirred well.

The solution is kept under a shade for a week to ferment well and then allowed to mix with the running irrigation water. For the fruit borer pest farmers have been trained to use agniastra or neemastra.


Agniastra is made by soaking one kg of crushed tobacco leaves in 10 litres of desi cow urine.

To this, 500 grams of chilli and garlic pulp (ground into a paste) each and 5kg of crushed neem leaves are added. This is diluted in 100 litres of water and sprayed.

Neemastra is made by mixing five litres of cow urine, two 2kg of dung and five kgs of crushed neem leaves in 100 litres of water and allowed to ferment for 24 hours. Later after filtering it is diluted in water and sprayed on brinjal to control the pests.


Almost all the brinjal growers either market their produce through a weekly organic outlet managed by Word in Tirupathi or also send the produce to Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad markets.

For more information and personal visits interested farmers can contact Mr. P. Muniratnam Naidu at Kasturikandriga village, Tirupati Rural Mandal, Chittoor District, Andhra Pradesh, mobile: 09989509877 and Dr. K. Gangadharam, General Secretary, Word, Natural farming school, Chenchuraju Kandriga, Pichatur Mandal, Chittoor : 517 5589: Andhra Pradesh, e-mail:, mobile: 09849059573.