Research

The integration of foliar applied seaweed and fish products into the fertility management of organically grown sweet peppers

Organic vegetable growers regularly use sea-based products, such as seaweed extracts and fish emulsions, as foliar fertilizers. The effective use and the economic value of these products in organic agriculture have yet to be verified by scientific research. In these studies, we examined the effects of foliar applied seaweed and fish products on sweet bell peppers grown at three different soil fertility levels

Organic strategies for growing corn under low-nitrogen stress

Corn is a plant with high nitrogen requirements. Levels of soil nitrogen that are lower than what the plants need at specific times during growth can limit yield and feed quality characteristics. We set out to investigate the utility of several methods of addressing possible low soil N on corn grown in the organic farming system used in central New York State. These methods were inoculation with symbiotic fungi (T-22, Trichoderma harzianum), choice of variety, and planting density.

Nutrient analysis of organic strawberries: effect of cultivars and mycorrhizal inoculations

Objectives

1. Demonstrate the relative nitrogen performance of standard California cultivars grown under organic management.

2. Determine if a commercial arbuscular mycorrhizae (AM) inoculant could provide mineral nutritional benefit, especially on phosphorus, to the cultivars being tested in the first objective.

3. Provide information that will aid organic strawberry producers in fertility management. 

Improving the quality of organic herb production and marketing

Farmers interested in transitioning some or all of their land into organic production need information regarding the best management practices for these systems. Soil fertility and weed management strategies are imperative for optimum plant growth and yields. Current research in organic herb production at Iowa State University has included investigations into certified organic methods of fertilization and use of organic mulches for weed suppression.

Maintaining nutrient balances in systems utilizing soluble organic fertilizers

The purpose of the present study was to simplify the previous experiments by utilizing the same substrate (peat:perlite), the same additions (low rates of limestone), the same greenhouse, and the same pest management practice (biological control with Encarsia) for all treatments. We also wanted to try several recently-OMRI certified materials which would potentially be easier to formulate, less expensive, and easier to apply with the drip system.

Investigating the Impact of Green Manures and Weed Mat on Soil Biota and Tree Growth in Organic Peach Tree Orchards

In the spring of 2001, organic peach blocks were established at two Western Colorado Research Center sites: Rogers Mesa and Orchard Mesa. These plantings were established to allow multi-disciplinary research, systems comparisons, and demonstration of an organic production system for peaches. The objective of this project is to study the effects of different organic management practices on the soil microbial and faunal communities within peach orchards on the western slope of Colorado.

The Effects of Green Manure, Compost, and Feather Meal on Soil Nitrogen Dynamics, Beneficial Soil Microorganisms, and Bell Pepper Yield

Many organic growers utilize a preceding cover crop or diverse types of organic fertilizer materials for fertility management. Cover crops are one of the most economical sources of organic nitrogen and provide additional potential benefits for succeeding crops. Time or market constraints and the need to intensively farm high value land may limit the use of cover crops and increase the need to utilize organic fertilizer sources of plant nutrients.

Analysis of Compost Tea Under Different Stages of Production

In this paper we review some of the pertinent research concerning organic teas, and note that the results of studies on the effects of such teas, especially as a biocide, is quite mixed. We believe this is due to the variable nature of both the organic feed stock and the methods of extraction. We also make some suggestions concerning a protocol for on-site research into the production and use of organic teas with suggestions for controlling feedstock and extractor variables infield experiments.

Monitoring the ability of compost to provide sufficient nitrogen to a bell pepper crop under drip irrigation

This project was designed to evaluate inputs of various rates of compost on the yield and nitrogen status of a crop of peppers. The grower-cooperator on this project makes his own compost and, for the last two years, he has applied from three to ten tons of compost (along with other nitrogen inputs such as cover crops, feather meal and sodium nitrate) to provide for the nitrogen need of his pepper crops.

Sorghum-sudangrass as a cover crop for organic no-till vegetable production and as a hey crop for the organic market

The purpose of this project was to investigate the potential of sorghum sudangrass to serve as both summer cover crop and marketable hay crop preceding no-till production of organic fall cabbage. The original stated objectives of this project were to determine best management practices for a non-leguminous summer cover crop in a no-till fall vegetable production system and to evaluate the efficacy of cover crop mid-season cutting for sale as hay. Based on the results of a 2003 field trial, these objectives were narrowed to the following:

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