- Vegetables: broccoli, cucurbits, peas (culinary), tomatoes
- Crop Production: cover crops, organic fertilizers
- Education and Training: demonstration, farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
- Farm Business Management: marketing management
- Production Systems: general crop production
- Soil Management: green manures, organic matter, soil quality/health
- Sustainable Communities: partnerships, social networks
Soil solarization and winter and summer cover crops were evaluated as strategies for reducing synthetic chemical inputs in vegetable production systems. Studies were conducted at Louisiana State University Agricultural Center and Southern University and on two cooperating farms. Results suggest that the utilization of soil solarization can be feasible. Weed control was generally greater with annual broadleaf weeds and some grasses than with nutsedge. Using southern peas as a summer cover offers an added incentive of allowing some economic return if some of the peas are harvested before incorporation. Winter cover crop utilization can be beneficial, but can require careful management.
Project objectives:div style="margin-left:1em;">
- Initiate work with participating farmers in selecting sustainable agricultural research and demonstration projects by conducting a start-up workshop.
Establish on-campus and on-farm research experiments in sustainable production practices related to the utilization of cover crops and soil solarization practices that are suitable to the Gulf South region.
Conduct a minimum of six on-farm demonstrations and workshops to enable growers to visit one another’s research plots.
Provide scholarships for limited-resource growers to participate in sustainable agriculture conferences.
Strengthen the information exchange network among farmers and agricultural institutions in Louisiana through farmers’ markets and the newly formed Louisiana Sustainable Agriculture Working Group.