- Vegetables: tomatoes
- Additional Plants: herbs
- Crop Production: fertigation, irrigation, organic fertilizers, tissue analysis
- Education and Training: extension
- Production Systems: organic agriculture, transitioning to organic
- Soil Management: nutrient mineralization, soil analysis, soil chemistry
Production of vegetable and herb transplants is an integral part of USDA certified organic farm and greenhouse operations. Little information is available on organic fertilization for greenhouse production systems. Previous SARE grant projects support the need for further research and education on this topic. Pre-plant incorporated and liquid organic fertilizers will be evaluated as sources of nutrients for seedling and potted plant production in soilless potting mixes. Nitrogen and phosphorus availability will be determined by standard media extraction procedures, incubations of amended potting mixes, and plant tissue analysis. A wide variety of pre-plant-incorporated and liquid fertilizer formulations will be tested alone and in combinations to develop optimum strategies for fertilization and to maintain high productivity while meeting requirements for organic certification. The approach to this project has been developed based on preliminary trials at the University of Connecticut. Outreach will include conference presentations, fact sheets on cooperative extension websites, and published articles that will benefit greenhouse growers, farmers, and extension personnel. This project will begin during the summer of 2011 and conclude in December 2012. Dr. George C. Elliott, Principal Investigator, and Ms. Kristin Hulshart, Graduate Investigator, will conduct this study in greenhouses and laboratories located at the University of Connecticut.
Project objectives from proposal:
1. To evaluate nitrogen and phosphorus availability from organic pre-plant incorporated fertilizers (PPIF) and organic liquid fertilizers (LF) in soilless potting mixes (SPM).
2. To evaluate combinations of PPIF and LF for commercial production in SPM.