2013 Cannon Organic Horticulture Project
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2013 Cannon Organic Horticulture Project

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An overview of the certified organic horticulture plots at the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture near Poteau, Oklahoma. Organic practices such as cover crops, biochar, compost and compost......

An overview of the certified organic horticulture plots at the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture near Poteau, Oklahoma. Organic practices such as cover crops, biochar, compost and compost teas, as well as variety trials., habitat for pollinators and no-till and biointensive beds.

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  • 1. The Cannon Horticulture Plots...
  • 2. ...were certified organic...
  • 3. ...by the Oklahoma Department ofAgriculture...
  • 4. ...in June 2011.
  • 5. George Kuepper ismanager of thecenters horticultureprojects.
  • 6. Kueppers report, "Small Scale Organics: A Guidebook for the Non-certified Organic Grower," is available free online.
  • 7. The center has converted bermudagrass pasture to organichorticulture production.
  • 8. Controlling bermudagrass is a challenge...
  • 9. ...but sorghum-sudangrass shades it out. Formore detail, see"Converting Bermuda Pasture toOrganic Vegetable Production.”
  • 10. Sorghum-sudangrass is one of several covercrops, both warm- and cool-season, that areused in the rotation on the Cannon plots.
  • 11. Cover crops, both winter and summer, are animportant element of the evolving organicsystem design. For more information, readRotations, Cover Crops, and Green Fallowon the Cannon Horticulture Project:A 2010 Status Report
  • 12. The system features a 4-field rotation. Eachyear, half of the land is in a "green fallow" offull-season cover crops.
  • 13. We grow grain rye asa winter cover crop.
  • 14. George Kuepper mowinga rye/vetch cover cropwith a BCS walk-behindtractor with sickle-barmower attachment
  • 15. The mowed material can be tilled in, or left onthe surface as mulch.
  • 16. A 2011 organic no-till demonstration used thisapproach to grow heirloom pumpkins andsquash. Results:2011 Organic No-Till Pumpkin Demonstration
  • 17. The project isexperimenting withusing a roller-crimperas another way to killcover crops.
  • 18. In addition to suppressing weeds, cover cropsadd fertility. Vetch, a winter cover crop, addsnitrogen to the soil.
  • 19. Purple hull peas, a warm-season cover crop,fix nitrogen, too. (The peas also make tastyeating.)
  • 20. When flowering, purple hull peas also providehabitat for beneficial insects.
  • 21. Additional fertility comes from compost...
  • 22. ...made with on-farm materials...
  • 23. ...such as hay...
  • 24. ...and manure.
  • 25. Compost tea...
  • 26. ...boostspopulations ofbeneficialmicrobes...
  • 27. ...in the soil.
  • 28. Biochar, made onthe farm...
  • 29. ...can increase soil moisture capacity andincrease fertilizer efficiency...
  • 30. ...as well as improving habitat for beneficialsoil microbes.
  • 31. 2010 was the first of three years of ourheirloom sweet potato variety trials...
  • 32. ...funded by a specialty crop block grant...
  • 33. ...from the USDA-AMS through the state ofOklahoma.
  • 34. Small-scale production techniques weretrialed...
  • 35. ...as well as varieties.
  • 36. Reports on all three years trials areavailable online.
  • 37. Heirloom tomato varieties were also trialed...
  • 38. ...in 2009...
  • 39. ...and 2010...
  • 40. ...including an additional trial of graftedtomatoes in 2010.
  • 41. Earlier years heirloom variety trials includedsummer squash (2009)...
  • 42. ...okra (2008)...
  • 43. ...and sorghum(2008).
  • 44. Reports with results from allheirloom variety trialsare available free online.
  • 45. One demonstration trial in 2011 focused onflour and meal corn.
  • 46. A "Three Sisters" demonstration in 2012attempted to adapt the Native Americancrop blend of beans...
  • 47. ...corn...
  • 48. ...and squash...
  • 49. ...to the organic system in the Cannon plots.Read the results.
  • 50. Beneficial insects help control insect pests.
  • 51. Beneficial insects also include nativepollinators. Learn more about the centerswork with native pollinators.
  • 52. For more in-depth information on ourorganic horticulture projects, check ourhorticulture projects page.
  • 53. To support our work,join Friends of theKerr Center!