Research

Breeding an open-pollinated vegetable variety in organic systems: The Public Seed Initiative

The project objective is to breed a CMV resistant bell pepper using King of the North as a commercial parent. King of the North, which has been provided by Turtle Tree Seeds (located in Copake, NY), is an early, cold tolerant bell pepper variety. It is described as a superior variety for both market and home gardeners that matches or surpasses many hybrids. While seeking to add CMV resistance we do not want to compromise on quality or earliness, but rather improve on these traits that are very important to organic growers. 

Public Breeding for Organic Agriculture – Screening for Horizontal Resistance to Late Blight in Tomato

Late blight of tomato and potato, caused by the fungal pathogen Phytophthera infestans, is currently the most destructive disease of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) in the Pacific Northwest. Geographically this includes regions stretching from the San Francisco Bay in California to the coastal islands of British Columbia.

Organic certified seed potato production in the Midwest

Our overall goal is to support the growth of an organic certified seed potato industry in Wisconsin. We have addressed this goal by conducting field trials on participating Wisconsin organic farms in order to test organic production methods for seed potatoes that meet certification standards. We used information from our field trials and from published literature to develop educational resources for organic growers on becoming certified seed potato growers using disease testing to monitor potato health and organic management strategies to control common potato diseases.

Development of weed control methods and irrigation requirements for organic medicinal herb production in New Mexico, 2003-2004

 Small-scale and family-oriented organic growers must be continually innovative and efficient in their operations in order to remain in business. One strategy for small and organic farmers is development of niche markets and specialty or high-value alternative crops, such as medicinal herbs. The American Southwest has a large number of native medicinal herb species that have been used traditionally by indigenous and Hispanic cultures. By and large, these species have been wild-harvested from native stands, mostly for personal, family, or local use.

Effects of organic alternatives for weed control and ground cover management on tree fruit growth, development and productivity

Organic fruit production in the US, especially the western regions, is expanding. The increase is occurring for both economic and ecological reasons. Current market conditions dictate that organic apple growers produce large, flavorful, high quality fruit. Large, high quality fruit receive price premiums and market acceptance whereas small fruit can be difficult to sell, even at lower prices. To grow large fruit, trees must be unstressed and provided with adequate water and nutrition. Weeds can compete with fruit trees for both water and nutrients.

Targeted Mowing to Increase Allelopathy of Rye Cover Crop in a Tomato Production System

This project examined whether targeted mowing of winter rye cover crop (Secale cereale L.) would increase its weed suppression ability by increasing levels of rye’s major allelochemicals, Hydroaxamic acids (Hx), and subsequently increase crop yield in an organic tomato production system. The project was conducted on organic farms in Upper Marlboro (2003), and Beltsville (2004), Maryland, using a rye cover crop that was grown as a monoculture and as a mixture with crimson clover, and black mulch. 

Evaluation of In-Row Weed Cultivators in Organic Soybeans and Corn

Objectives

1. To investigate the abilities of six in–row weeding implements to control in-row weeds in organic soybeans and corn. The initial selected six implements were reduced to five after preliminary trials showed that the Bezzerides Cultivator System with spyder set and spring hoe, was similar with the Bezzerides Cultivator System with spyder set and torsion weeders. This change was made with the agreement of the farmer. Also it was decided to use the Williams tool system as the tine weeder without the optional side knives offered.

Weed Suppression Using Brassicaceae Cover Crops in Organically Grown Peppers

The original objectives of this project as stated in the proposal were to: 1) Test the effectiveness of high glucosinolate-containing meals at controlling soilborne diseases (damping-off and white mold of lettuce) in an organic farming system. 2) Determine the influence of these materials on N cycling processes in organic systems. 

Using High-residue Cover Crop Mulch for Weed Management In Organic No-till Potato Production Systems

The overall goals of this project are to (1) optimize potato yield without using chemical herbicides or fertilizers, and (2) disseminate the knowledge and results generated from this study to farmers and agricultural professionals throughout the United States.

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