- Vegetables: beans, beets, cabbages, carrots, greens (leafy), sweet corn, tomatoes
- Crop Production: conservation tillage
- Education and Training: farmer to farmer, focus group, mentoring, networking, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
- Farm Business Management: agricultural finance, whole farm planning
- Pest Management: biological control, mulches - killed, mulches - living, physical control, mulching - plastic, cultivation
- Production Systems: transitioning to organic, permaculture
- Soil Management: earthworms, green manures, soil analysis, soil quality/health
Reduced and modified tillage systems (e.g. no-, zone-, strip-, or ridge- till) represent strategies to reduce soil degradation and erosion and protect water quality. In straight no-till, soils warm slowly under heavy residue and vegetable harvests are delayed. Over the last few years, our project team has demonstrated that zone and strip tillage are successful reduced till approaches for large-seeded vegetables grown in the cooler climates of the upper Northeast. Based upon grower feedback, we will focus our next efforts on overcoming some of the challenges inherent in adopting reduced tillage systems for small seeded and root vegetables and organic production systems. We hope to demonstrate viable strategies to reduce tillage in these crops, improve soil quality, maintain yields, and reduce production costs. Our multidisciplinary team of growers, researchers and extension educators will use on-farm and on-station research, workshops, and field demonstrations to test and promote reduced tillage for small seeded, root and organic systems. We will design and or test new reduced tillage implements and high residue cultivators, to facilitate improved seedbeds, soil tilth and weed management needed for these crops. We will also compare three approaches to organic reduced tillage at a research station. Test crops include carrots, beets, lettuce, greens (small seeded, root) and cabbage and peppers (organic studies). Through events and farmer discussion groups, we will support growers doing on farm trials as well as engage these folks in evaluating research results. Information gained will be summarized in case studies and crop profiles. Out of the 500 growers that get exposed to the reduced tillage methods for vegetable cultivation of small-seeded crops, transplants and organic systems, 30 will implement reduced tillage practices on a permanent basis within one year after the end of the project.
Performance targets from proposal:
Out of the 500 growers that get exposed to the reduced tillage methods for vegetable cultivation of small-seeded crops, transplants and organic systems, 30 will implement reduced tillage practices on a permanent basis within one year after the end of the project.