Notes
The following are some notes on subjects covered suring every session.

The Importance of Farming

The Farming industry is very important to our livelihood as it provides us with most of our everyday food and clothing. We rarely realise the importance of Agriculture as a means of subsistence.

Farm Animals :
Cows , pigs , chickens, turkeys ,sheep, goats , rabbits , quails etc...
By-products :
Meat (Hamburgers, Sausages etc.), Milk (Cheese, Yoghurt etc.), Leather (Shoes, Belts, Jackets etc.), Clothing etc...

Farmers also produce;
Vegetables :
Cabbages,  Carrots, Cauliflower, Aubergines, marrows etc...
Fruits :
Oranges, Pears, Peaches, Apples etc...
Cereals :
Wheat , Barley, Corn  etc...
By-products :
Flour, Bread, Pastries, Breakfast cereals etc...

Soil in Gozo/Malta

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L-origini tal hamrija
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In our islands we have four different types of soil. These are :

1. Tafli (Carbonate Raw Soil)
2. Bajjad (Xerorendzina Soil)
3. Hamri
(Terra Soil)
4. Ir-Ramli (Greensand)

Tafli This can be found mainly in valleys and on slopes . It is impermeable (non porous) and so holds water on its surface. For this reason, fields containing this type of soil are hard to work after the rain.
Bajjad This type of soil is found mainly near the lime stone quarries in areas where the Globigerina limestone is on the surface. It is light in colour and helps to reflect some of the sun’s heath during the summer period.
Hamri The Terra soil is found mainly on the upper Coralline rock, It can be found in high places such as Nadur, Xaghra, Zebbug etc.. It is very rich in nutrients and because of its dark colour, it is perfect for the winter production.
Ir-Ramli This soil is not so common but there are certain places where fields contain sand. It is very porous and needs irrigation and fertilisation regularly. Such fields can be found near Ramla bay.


The Origin of soil

Our soil is very old. It was formed millions of years ago. Rain, wind, temperature fluctuations and geotectonic movement of rocks have contributed to the formation of our soils. It takes many years to produce a handful of soil and so it is important to protect it. Rabble walls (Hitan Tas-Sejjieh) play an important role in keeping the soil in our fields. Where these walls have been left to deteriorate , a lot of soil is carried away every year by the rainfall. Once the soil reaches the sea it is lost for ever. Even the trees and the grass with their network of roots contribute for the preservation of soil.

Nutrients in soil / Photosynthesis
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The Water Cycle
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Grafting and Budding
A section which is gaining a lot of interest among students visiting the farm is the Grafting / Budding section.

Grafting
Grafting is the technique of joining parts of trees together in such a manner that they unite and grow as one tree. The part of the graft which is to become the upper part of the tree is called the scion (feles) and the lower part is called the rootstock (selvagg).

Why Grafting? Many fruit trees do not have suitable roots and require grafting on other rootstocks to give satisfactory trees. This type of grafting is done during December and January when the trees are in their dormant stage.

The rootstock should be cut as low to the ground as possible. In making the cleft graft , a knife is used to make a vertical split for a distance of 5cm to 8cm down the centre of the rootstock. A screw driver or chisel is inserted to hold it open.
The scion (feles) should be about 7cm to 13cm long and should have at least two to three buds. The lower end of the scion should be cut into a long sloping wedge about 5cm long. When placing the scion into the rootstock, it is important to place both the cambium layers firmly together. After the scion is in place it is important that the stock is wrapped tightly with string or tape. Waxing of the whole graft is needed.

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Budding
Budding is the method of grafting trees by a single bud. This is the most popular method of grafting trees even in Malta. This method is applied on trees during their vegetation season mostly May June and September. The graft is done approximately 5cm to 25cm above the ground and where the stem is smooth.

A vertical cut about 2.5cm long is made in the stem. A horizontal cut is made through the bark about 1/3 the distance around the stock. With the aid of the knife we slowly open the flaps of the bark. The Bud; A knife should be inserted about 1cm below the bud, slicing beneath the bud for about 2.5cm beyond it. A horizontal cut, about 2cm is made through the bark, so that we can remove the bud piece. The bud is inserted into the “T” cut downwards . The bud graft is then tied tightly with some tape.

Rootstock on which fruit trees are grafted.
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Type Of Fruit Trees
Type Of Rootstock
Peaches and Nectarines
GF677
Apricots and Plums
Myrabolan 29c
Pears (+Bambinella)
Pyrus comunis
Apples
MM106
Mulberries (Tut)
Morus Alba
Vines (Planted in clay soil)
(Other soil)
Paulsen 1103
Ruggieri 140
Citrus
Seville Oranges
 
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Apart from these rootstocks, bitter almonds are still used as a rootstock for many fruit trees.


More information available int he links below...

http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/hil/budding.html
http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/horticulture/components/DG0532c.html
http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/propagation/budding/budding.html


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Handouts
These are some of the handouts that are distributed among the sturents vinising the programme.

You can download the following handouts and print them
>
Nghozzu Il-Biedja
Ftakar dak li tgħallimt l-farm.
Year 4 Handout.
Year 6 Handout.