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Vegetable Cultural Practices And Variety Selection

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Organic Vegetable Production

Organic Vegetable Production


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    • 1. Cultural Practices and Cultivar Selections for Commercial Vegetable Growers Brad Bergefurd OSU South Centers Piketon, Ohio
    • 2. Cultural Practices to Consider…
      • Location
      • Soil types
      • Types of crops
      • Garden Layout
      • Rotation of crops
      • Planting Methods
      • Weed Control
      • Pest Control
    • 3. Location
      • Near water supply for easy access
      • Full sun- some plants will grow in shady areas (leafy greens, pumpkins)
      • Away from trees- rob nutrients from veggies
      • Flat land to prevent runoff and erosion
    • 4. Soil Types
      • Best garden soil is loam= equal amount of sand, silt, and clay
        • Good drainage so oxygen is available for roots
        • Organic matter to hold moisture and provide plants with nutrients
        • pH range should be from 6.3-7.0 for most veggies
    • 5.  
    • 6.  
    • 7.  
    • 8.  
    • 9.  
    • 10. Loam soil is ideal
    • 11.  
    • 12.  
    • 13.  
    • 14.  
    • 15.  
    • 16.  
    • 17.  
    • 18.  
    • 19.  
    • 20. Earthworms are a sign of good soil health
      • Stimulate microbial activity
      • Mix and aggregate soil
      • Increase infiltration
      • Improve water-holding capacity
      • Provide channels for root growth
      • Bury and shred plant residue
    • 21.  
    • 22. Soil Management Practices…
      • Clay Soils
        • Work up in the fall of the year
        • This allows drier soil in spring for earlier planting
        • Prepare “raised beds” to plant early in season
        • Work manure, residue, and leaves into soil to increase organic matter
    • 23. Soil Management Practices…
      • Sandy Soils
        • Best when planted with a fall cover crop, rye or vetch and the worked in early spring
        • This adds organic matter
        • Helps to hold on to moisture and residual nutrients
        • Soil tests should be done each year to determine nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium levels as well as pH level.
    • 24. Soil Management Practices…
      • pH is too high (alkaline)
        • Add sulfur to recommended amounts from soil test
      • pH is too low (basic)
        • Add lime to recommended amounts
        • How much to apply? Don’t guess soil test!
        • Beans, peas, onions require high pH levels
    • 25. Feed the Soil
      • Plant get their essential nutrients from soil – either mineral or from organic matter. Soil fauna is essential to this process;
      • Plants don’t require a season’s worth of nutrients all at once, like we don’t eat all our meals at once;
      • Synthetic fertilizers are typically salts, which dissolve rapidly in soil solution
        • Can aggravate a soil salinity problem;
        • Nutrients may be lost before plants use them;
        • Nutrient level fluctuation can negatively affect soil microbial ecosystem.
    • 26. Composting
    • 27. Compost Ingredients
    • 28.  
    • 29. Get compost analyzed
      • Will need to know the elemental makeup of the compost to determine amounts to use to meet the crop nutrient requirements
      • Should be tested by a laboratory for moisture and nutrient content.
      • Nutrient analysis should include: total nitrogen (N), ammonium-N, phosphate (P2O5), and potash (K2O).
      • Accurate manure or compost analysis requires that a representative sample be submitted; so several subsamples should be collected and composited to make up the sample.
      • If manure or compost is being purchased, request a nutrient analysis from the seller for N, P2O5, and K2O content.
    • 30. Fertilizing
      • Plant Food Elements analysis is needed (even for organic fertilizers)
      N-P-K Nitrogen % Phosphorus % Potassium % 5-10-5
    • 31. Fertilizing
      • Why important to know % of elements?
      • For you know how much to feed your crops.
      • Like a diet calculator for your plants
      • Applying rates that are too low can lead to nutrient deficiency and low yields.
      • Too high of nutrient rates can lead to nitrate leaching, phosphorus runoff, accelerated eutrophication of lakes, and excessive vegetative growth of some crops.
    • 32. Fertilizing Continued
      • High Nitrogen Crops
        • Leafy veggies and corn
      • High Phosphorus Crops
        • Pod and fruit crops
      • High Potassium Crops
        • Root crops
    • 33. Applying Fertilizers
      • Broadcasting - spread amount of fertilizer equally over the entire garden and mix into soil before planting
      • Sidedressing - Mix half into the soil before planting and apply the rest later in the season on top of the soil on each side of the rows about 3-4 inches from the stem.
    • 34. Applying Fertilizers continued
      • Banding - place the fertilizer in rows dug 3 inches from each side of the row of seeds or plants and slightly deeper than the depth planted.
      • Plowing Under - if soil is very low in “P” and “K”, then add nutrients and plow under. Top dressing does not allow nutrients to be leached into soil fast enough.
    • 35. Season Extension
      • Interplanting method - plant a short term crop with a longer term plant so more crop can be grown in a smaller space. (i.e radishes and carrots, corn and pumpkins)
      • Succession Planting - if using short term varieties, plant-harvest and replant another crop quickly to get maximum use of garden space.
    • 36. Season Extension
      • Crops can be planted at intervals of every two weeks so that they can be harvested throughout the season- less disease and insect pressure
      • Replant areas where early crops, such as peas and lettuce are harvested with fall crops, such as kale or turnips. (succession)
      • Use black plastic or mulch to cover ground to warm the soil and to keep weeds down.
    • 37. Vegetable Crops: Increased Revenue and Cash Flow is our Goal
      • Season Extension- early and late field plantings as well as mid season
      • Increased early and late season market demand
    • 38. Vegetable Crops: Increased Revenue and Cash Flow is our Goal
      • High $ fall market especially last 2 years due to hurricanes in the south
      • May have better size/quality, less disease/insect pressure in several plantings compared to continued harvest of main season plantings
    • 39. Plasticulture Production Techniques
    • 40. Season Extension- Zip House Performance
    • 41. Floating Row Covers for freeze/frost protection
    • 42.  
    • 43. Staking and tying
      • Prevent plant lodging under heavy fruit load
      • Prevent plant lodging under wet soil conditions
      • Prevents plant breakage under heavy fruit load
      • Prevents wind damage to plant
      • VERY LABOR INTENSIVE
    • 44. Use of landscape fabric or weed matt
    • 45.  
    • 46. High Tunnels
    • 47. High tunnel production
      • Earlier harvest
      • Higher fruit quality
      • Dry plants= less disease
      • Season extension
    • 48.  
    • 49.  
    • 50. Sweet Corn Plastic Mulch Systems
      • Potential benefits of clear plastic mulch
        • Crop may mature 7-10 days earlier than unmulched
        • May retain soil moisture (any mulch)
    • 51.  
    • 52. Crop Rotation
      • Decreases insect/disease problems
      • Utilize nutrients already in soil provided by previous crop
      • Example rotation
        • Green, manure crops
        • High nitrogen crops, corn
        • Root crops
        • Solanaceous
      • Back to beginning
    • 53. Planting Methods
      • Use fresh seeds from a reputable source
      • Pay attention to last frost date in your area
      • Plant according to directions on package
      • Build “mini greenhouse” to protect seedlings from frost, increase germination rate/date, and increase temperature from sun so gardening can be started early in season.
    • 54. Weed Control
      • Don’t delay! Remove weeds when they are less than 1” tall and remove roots, too!
      • Mulching/cover crops- straw, leaves, black polyethylene plastic, grass clippings, wood chips (nontreated) work well to control weeds and keep crops clean
    • 55. Weeds
      • Annual weeds:
        • Don’t delay! Cultivate before or soon after soil emergence roots and all!
        • Smother with mulch (before or after weed seedling emergence);
        • Flame weeding can work well but BE CAREFUL especially during the current drought.
      • Mulching/cover crops- straw, leaves, black polyethylene plastic, grass clippings, wood chips (nontreated), newspapers, etc. work well to control weeds and keep crops clean
    • 56.
      • In general:
        • Young weeds are easier to control by whatever method.
        • Weeds can be composted, or used for mulch, if they haven’t set seed.
        • If they have set seed, dispose of by burning, burying, or similar solution.
        • Some weeds can harbor diseases.
        • Soil solarization can kill weeds and seeds at the soil surface.
    • 57.
      • Soil Solarization with clear plastic:
      • Till soil, wet up real well;
      • Cover with heavy-duty clear plastic, anchored along all edges;
      • Leave in the sun for several weeks to heat sterilize upper inches.
      • Kills insects, eggs, seeds in the heated soil.
      • Poor control into deeper soil profile
    • 58. Perennial Weeds
      • Harder to control, as a rule
      • Mulching can help
      • Repeated cultivation and/or flaming can help
      • Crop rotation, green manuring, etc. can help.
    • 59. Don’t park the cultivator!!
    • 60. Black Plastic Mulch
      • Warms soil earlier
      • Suppresses weed growth
      • Holds soil moisture
      • Prevents soil splashing
      • Cleaner fruit
      • Can reduce disease
    • 61. Raised beds, black plastic mulch & drip irrigation
    • 62. Staking and Tying
      • Florida Weave System
    • 63. Staking Peppers
      • Bell peppers should be staked to create a more upright canopy and reduce the risk of wind lodging
      • Similar to tomatoes
    • 64.  
    • 65.  
    • 66. Why use cover crops?
      • Add OM back to soil…
      • Reduce erosion…
      • Control weeds…
      • Conserve soil moisture…
      • Control soil-borne disease…
      • Increase fruit cleanliness / quality at harvest…
    • 67. Conventional agriculture is related to soil , air and water quality degradation Accelerated nutrients release (e.g. N) Loss of SOM as CO 2
    • 68. Leaching, runoff and volatilization of Nutrients with Conventional soil tillage
    • 69. Chemical fertilizers dilemma  Environmental crossroads  Fossil fuels Availability Cost Politics  N fertilizer production cost
    • 70. Crop rotation Cover crops No till Sustainable agriculture
    • 71. Cover Crops
      • Common types of cover crops
        • Winter sown rye (annual)
          • Excellent biomass, sown in Fall
        • Perennial rye grass
          • Good biomass, sown in Fall
        • Hairy Vetch
          • Legume (+N), can be hard to kill
        • Spring sown oats
          • Fall sown = very little biomass, spring sown = ok biomass
      • Not so common
        • Medics (annual legume from Australia)
          • Fall seeded deteriorate over winter, spring seeded competes with crop
    • 72. Benefits of cover crops
    • 73. Common Mistake… Seed is not placed in soil Strategy for success… Plant to correct depth Roll before cover lodges
    • 74.  
    • 75. We have evaluated 32 different cover crops at OSU South Centers at Piketon for their suitability for: - Biomass and nutrient management - Biomass N contribution -Nutrient recyclers  Other characteristics
    • 76. Cow peas
    • 77. Alfalfa-timothy Clover Crimson clover
    • 78. Austrian winter peas Hairy vetch
    • 79. Hairy Vetch- Fertilizer equivalent biomass N contribution ~ 80.6 + 4 lbs ac -1
    • 80. Sudan-sorghum grass Cereal rye
    • 81. Sesame Buckwheat-annual rye
    • 82. Annual ryegrass Fantastic Starfire
    • 83.  
    • 84.  
    • 85.  
    • 86. Soil depth (in) Nitrate conc. (ppm) Hemphill and Hart (1993) No cover crops Annual rye grass
    • 87. Cover crops killing 5% vinegar @ 35 gallons ac -1 Roll over Roundup
    • 88. Challenges with cover crops : Not a “Magic bullet” Unable to replace chemical N fertilizers Delay planting/poor germination Initial lower crop yields (Transitional effect)
    • 89. Challenges ….. Difficult to establish good stands Compete with crops for nutrients Immobilize soil N Right combination (allelopathy)
    • 90. Poor stand and persistence of hairy vetch as cover crops
    • 91. Soil heaving effect on large seeded winter cover crops Example: Austrian winter peas
    • 92. Cons of using cover crops…
      • Having field available in fall.
      • Extra costs and labor needed.
      • Chemicals will still need to be used.
      • Cooler, wetter soils
      • Increased chance of herbicide injury?
      • Longer production schedules.
      • Vertebrate damage increases
    • 93. Continue to look for appropriate cover crops for your farm
    • 94. Vegetable Crop Disease Management
      • Use IPM approach - multiple tactics
      • Manage water properly
        • Trickle/drip irrigation better than overhead
        • Use raised beds
      • Select best possible site
        • Open (good air movement), well-drained
      • Improve soil quality
        • Organic amendments
        • Cover crops
      • Practice appropriate rotations
        • Rotate away from similar crops at least three years
      • Choose varieties with best resistance available
        • “ Mountain” series: moderate resistance to early blight (Mountain Pride, Supreme, Gold, Fresh and Belle)
        • Clean Seed
    • 95. Disease Triangle
    • 96. Disease Management
      • Use IPM approach - multiple tactics
      • Select best possible site
        • Open (good air movement), well-drained
      • Improve soil quality
        • Organic amendments
        • Cover crops
      • Practice appropriate rotations
        • i.e Tomatoes- Rotate away from solanaceous crops at least three years
    • 97.  
    • 98. Pest Control/Prevention
      • Dispose of crop residue (leftovers)
      • Rotate Crops
      • Use “treated” seeds
      • Use “resistant” varieties
      • Purchase healthy transplants
      • Use limited chemicals if necessary
        • STAY SAFE…READ the DIRECTIONS!
    • 99. In the Field - Cultural Tactics
      • Mulches
        • Plastic or plant-based
          • Reduce splash dispersal of pathogens
          • Protect fruit from soilborne pathogens
      • Row orientation
        • Maximize air movement
        • Minimize leaf wetness periods
    • 100. In the Field - Sanitation
      • Destroy plant tissue post-season
        • Removes sources of inoculum
      • Remove diseased plants and weeds in-season
        • esp. for late blight, bacterial diseases
      • Sterilize plant stakes between crops
      • Clean tools, equipment frequently
      • Prohibit tobacco use
    • 101. Watering and Irrigation
      • Timeliness is important
      • Mother Nature does not always provide moisture in a timely manner
      • Rule of Thumb= 1 inch of water per week
      • More or less required at different stages of crop growth
      • Need to account for evapotransporation and rainfall
    • 102.  
    • 103.  
    • 104.  
    • 105.  
    • 106.  
    • 107.  
    • 108.  
    • 109.  
    • 110.  
    • 111. Drip Irrigation
      • Low volume requirements
      • Low pressure requirements
      • Put the water where the plant needs it the most
    • 112. Overhead Irrigation
      • Easy to manage
      • Plant wettness
      • Good for evaporative cooling of plants
      • Large water volume required
      • Large pressure and horsepower requirements
    • 113.  
    • 114. Direct seeding or transplanting?
      • Some plants don’t take transplanting well (cucurbits, root crops, beans and peas).
      • Some do (tomato, pepper, eggplant, greens of all types, early corn).
      • Can gain 2 to 4 weeks by transplanting, depending on soil temperatures and crop.
      • Cost, hassle trade-offs.
      • May help get ahead of weed problems.
    • 115. Use Clean Seed
      • To control bacterial diseases
      • Tomato seed are acid treated during processing/de-fuzzing
        • Not fully effective in sanitizing seed
      • Other options
        • Clorox treatment (surface sanitation)
        • Hot water treatment (surface & internal)
    • 116. Produce Clean Transplants
      • Practice good sanitation in the greenhouse
        • Use new or sanitized plug trays or flats and pathogen-free mixes
        • Sanitize equipment
        • Install solid flooring; raise seedling trays
        • Limit movement of personnel and equipment between greenhouses
        • Clean benches, greenhouse structure thoroughly after the crop
    • 117.  
    • 118.
      • Do not raise exotic or experimental vegetable varieties, or plants from saved seed, in the same greenhouse with commercial seedlings unless all seeds are treated
      • Avoid raising or holding ornamental plants and vegetables in the same greenhouse
      • Exclude insects (may carry viruses)
      Produce Clean Transplants
    • 119.  
    • 120.
      • Maintain conditions in the greenhouse that do not favor disease development
        • Maintain relative humidity as low as possible
          • Good air circulation
          • Proper temperatures
        • Do not overwater
        • Handle plants as little as possible
      Produce Clean Transplants
    • 121. Transplants
    • 122. Larger cell size=earlier harvest
    • 123. Vegetable Variety Selection
      • The most important grower decision
      • Grower experience is the best
      • Variety evaluation is VERY TIME CONSUMING
      • Consider all the factors
      • Start with new varieties on a small trial scale first
    • 124. Variety Selection
      • Use of “Adapted Varieties” or those have been proven to grow well in this region
        • unadapted can lead to loss of 20% yield
      • Study data from 3 years or more using regional variety trial results and your own on farm testing
      • Agriculture Experiment Station field days and trials
        • summaries released yearly
      • Private Seed Companies field days and trials
      • It takes 8-10 years for variety development, 2-3 more for commercial production
    • 125. On farm variety testing
    • 126. Variety Adoption
      • Market Acceptability: plant product must have characteristics desired by the buyer including size, shape, color, flavor, and nutritional quality
      • Adaptability: Varieties must perform well under the range of environmental conditions usually encountered on the farm (drought, heat, cold, wet, wind)
    • 127. Variety Adoption (cont.)
      • Horticultural Quality: characteristics of the plant habit as related to climate and production practices of the plant product
      • Concentrated set for machine harvest pickles, tomato, sweet corn, green bean.
    • 128. Variety Adoption (cont.)
      • Disease Resistance or tolerance: this is the most effective means of pest management (less costly than chemicals)
      • Genetic resistance or tolerance to disease or insect
      • Virus masking in squash
      • When all other factors are equal it would be prudent to select for resistance or tolerance
    • 129. Variety Adoption (cont.)
      • Yield
      • The variety should have the potential to produce crops at least equivalent to those varieties already being grown
      • Harvested yield may be much less than potential yield because of market constraints
    • 130. Horticultural Quality Characteristics
      • Quality traits of crop may be more important than yield characteristic
      • “ Super Sweet” sweet corn varieties
      • Fruit size, color
      • Spineless in squash
      • Thornlessin blackberry
    • 131. Want to Learn More? University trials and Field Days
    • 132. Seed Company Field Days
    • 133. Midwest Vegetable Variety Trial Report
      • Reports from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota, and Ohio are included.
      • Online:. http://www.hort.purdue.edu/fruitveg/reports.shtml
      • To purchase: Purdue University Media Distribution Department. Tel: 1-888-398-4636. A new bulletin is published each year reflecting current season's trials from Midwestern states. Past issues are sometimes available.
    • 134. Full reports of this and past years results:
      • Brad Bergefurd Extension Educator, Horticulture OSU South Centers 1864 Shyville Road Piketon, Ohio 45661 [email_address] http:// southcenters.osu.edu/hort / 1-800-860-7232
      • (614) 292-4900

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