- Vegetables: tomatoes
- Crop Production: continuous cropping
- Education and Training: demonstration, farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research, workshop
- Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns, feasibility study, agricultural finance, whole farm planning
- Pest Management: biological control, disease vectors, economic threshold, genetic resistance, prevention, sanitation
- Production Systems: agroecosystems
- Soil Management: soil analysis, soil microbiology
- Sustainable Communities: local and regional food systems, new business opportunities, sustainability measures
Recently, larger growers have begun using multi-bay high tunnels as a way to cover large production areas for half the cost of traditional high tunnels. One of the primary challenges of high tunnel production is that reduced crop rotation intervals can lead to build-up of soil borne pathogen inoculums in the field, resulting in severe annual disease epidemics. Verticillium wilt (race 2) is problematic for organic and sustainable growers, as the only current effective management strategy is fumigation. I was the recipient of a 2008 Farmer SARE grant, Grafting tomatoes in multi-by high tunnels as a way to overcome soil borne diseases –FNE08-636. We learned valuable information from this study and desire to apply for a follow-up grant that would allow us to pursue some unanswered questions. In addition we’d like to measure tomato fruit quality within the treatments and determine the economics of grafted transplant production as this is a question many growers are now asking.
Project objectives from proposal:
This project has three primary objectives. 1. To evaluate tomato rootstock for its ability to manage verticillium wilt (race 2) and other soil borne diseases in multi-bay high tunnels. Disease incidence and yield will be observed with and without chemical fumigation. 2. To determine the actual costs associated with commercial, large-scale grafted transplant production as this is a question many growers are now asking due to the success grafting has achieved. 3. An aggressive outreach program has been developed to convey the findings and importance of this study to farmers in the Northeast region. A field day is planned during the growing season and a half-day grafting workshop and speaking session will be held during the 2010 Mid-Atlantic Vegetable Conference.