- Agronomic: potatoes
- Crop Production: food product quality/safety
- Education and Training: on-farm/ranch research
- Production Systems: general crop production
- Soil Management: soil quality/health
In early August 2012, I tilled field 8 with a tractor and a 60″ 3-point tiller. Field 8 had never had a micronutrient, mineral and trace element supplement applied to it before. It was last cropped in 2005. It was so dry I made a dust storm. Twelve 3-foot wide beds were tilled, each 50 feet long. Fertilizer was applied evenly to all beds per soil test results using a drop spreader for even application. Two drop spreaders were purchased: one for fine grained fertilizer and the other with every other tooth removed for a fine compost application. Then a coin was used to randomly select which half of each bed was to receive the supplement and which was not to receive the supplement. The coin toss was truly random since 12 half beds to receive the supplement were treated at a rate of 10 Lb. per 100 square ft. per bag instructions. The potato beds 1-6 were raised with a bed shaper with irrigation tape plowed 3″ deep into them and white plastic mulch applied. Then seed potatoes were planted into beds 1-6 and lettuce was planted into beds 7-12. An electric fence was constructed to keep the deer from eating the crops.
Lettuce samples were taken: From the 3-row wide beds, 1 leaf was taken from 4 different plants growing in the center row. These plants were not near either end of the bed or the crosswise point halfway down the bed. Sample leaves were rinsed with well water and then rinsed again in distilled water to remove any contaminants that might be on the leaf. Four leafs for each sample were then placed in a folded piece of paper from a brown paper bag and tape was applied to keep samples in place. Samples were then loosely filed in a cardboard box for mailing or taking to the testing laboratory.
- To show an increase in nutrients in produce grown in soil with added micronutrient, mineral and trace elements.