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When the Great Famine of 1845 to 1852 wiped out large swaths of the Irish and English population due to the shortage of available foods, residents of the countries began seeking new homes that would provide enough pull factors in the form of food availability to justify relocation.
Desmodium is a member of the pea family with native roots on every arable continent.
The process and science behind it are described: “The technology involves intercropping maize with a repellent plant, such as Desmodium, and planting an attractive trap plant, such as Napier grass, as a border crop around this intercrop.
Gravid stemborer females are repelled or deterred away from the target crop (push) by stimuli that mask host apparency while they are simultaneously attracted (pull) to the trap crop, leaving the target crop protected.” Desmodium produces root exudates; some of the exudates stimulate the germination of Striga seeds, while other exudates inhibit their growth after germination.
Desmodium also conserves soil moisture, enhances arthropod abundance and diversity, and improves soil organic matter.
Desmodium and Napier grass protect fragile soils from erosion.These factors are considered to be diametrically opposed, on opposite ends of the spectrum, though they are often both used in tandem when a population or person is considering migrating to a new location.