Organic High Tunnel
 Fertility Research
       Terrance T. Nennich
       Extension Professor
Vegetable and Small Fruit Pr...
High Tunnel Research Sites in
                  Minnesota




                                    Experiment Stations
    ...
© 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
© 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
Why Organic Fertility
 Research in High
    Tunnels?

      The Concept

 © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
Organic soil fertility studies
 The purpose of this study is to measure
the amount of soil nutrients, used buy
tomatoes an...
The Organic System
         in High Tunnels
As in any organic production system,
chemicals and other commercial crop
input...
© 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
Crookston Organic Tunnel

What we did?

What Happened




      © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
Water Testing
Consider testing the water for at least
nitrates .

The Crookston high tunnel was being
watered by the city ...
Soil Texture Amending
The soil texture at the Crookston site was
a very heavy clay. ( Red River Mud)

We desired to change...
Concerns from Previous High
Tunnel Experiences 1999-2006


Enough soil fertility between residual and
applied application ...
© 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
© 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
Soil texture

The goal was to have a soil organic matter
of at least 5% and ideally 6-7%.

In order to accomplish this we ...
Soil Fertility
Soil fertility must start out very high with enough
organic matter to prevent leaching of nutrients.
In thi...
Test the Sand
                  Test for Basics
-   pH



-   Other nutrients are ok but not as
    important



         ...
Compost/Manure
Use only very well rotted manure

Don’t assume that compost is high in nutrients.

Do regular soil test plu...
Test the compost
    Horse             Beef                 Plant

N   2418              1410                 321

P    40...
Test Soil Before Planting

After all incorporation and soil amending is
done test the soil before planting.

– In high tun...
Planting Beds
Planting beds were raised 1 inch (from 4
to 5 inches)
Width of the beds were increased 4 inches
(from 16 to ...
© 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
© 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
Additional Fertilization
A organic fish solution of a 4-1-1 was used
that was compatible with the drip tape.

The fish sol...
© 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
© 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
Plant Spacing
Spacing between rows would remain the same at 48
inches.

Plant spacing in the row would be increased to all...
Plant Spacing
 In row plant spacing would be increased
to :

– 24 inches for indeterminate tomatoes such as
  Coba and Ult...
Plant Spacing
– Cucumber varieties would be increased to 18
  inches.

– Peppers would remain the same 2 rows on a
  bed p...
Alternate Spacing




© 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
Plant Pruning
Reasonable plant pruning practices would be
done to increase earliness, size and allow more
airflow for dise...
© 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
Soil Nutrient Research
                2007
Before planting soil was tested at
  0-6 inches
  6-12 inches
  12-24 inches

...
Tomato Results 2007
Variety             Cobra
First harvest       June 21
Total Yield         37 Pound/plant
Culls        ...
Soil Nutrient Research
                 2007
                 Cobra Tomatoes
                0-6 inch soil depth

        ...
Soil Nutrient Research
                 2007
               Cobra Tomatoes
              6-12 inch soil depth

           ...
Soil Nutrient Research
                 2007
               Cobra Tomatoes
             12-24 inch soil depth

           ...
Cucumber Results
                     2007
                          Cucumbers
  All the fruit from all 26 cucumber plants...
Soil Nutrient Research
                 2007
        Sweet Success Cucumbers
           0-6 inch soil depth

             ...
Soil Nutrient Research
                 2007
        Sweet Success Cucumbers
           6-12 inch soil depth

            ...
Soil Nutrient Research
                 2007
        Sweet Success Cucumbers
          12-24 inch soil depth

            ...
Soil Nutrient Research
               2008


The 2008 research question was:

If the soil fertility is at high levels befo...
Soil Nutrient Research
               2008
The plots (rows) were divided in two, one
half fertilized through drip tape, th...
2008 Soil Amending
Enough manure based compost was
added to raise the beginning soil nutrient
levels to very high.




   ...
Fertilized Plot
 Added 10 gallons of a 4-1-1 fish solution
evenly through drip tape

- per acre nutrients added were
- N 2...
Soil Nutrient Research
               2008
Before planting soil was tested at
  0-6 inches
  6-12 inches
  12-24 inches

S...
Tomato Results
                     2008
Variety      Yield fertilized                      Yield Unfertilized




 Cobra ...
Soil Nutrient Research 2008
           Fertilized Plots
                 Cobra Tomatoes
                0-6 inch soil dept...
Soil Nutrient Research 2008
          Unfertilized Plots
                 Cobra Tomatoes
                0-6 inch soil dep...
Soil Nutrient Research 2008
           Fertilized plots
               Cobra Tomatoes
              6-12 inch soil depth

...
Soil Nutrient Research 2008
          Unfertilized plots
               Cobra Tomatoes
              6-12 inch soil depth
...
Soil Nutrient Research 2008
            Fertilized Plots
                  Cobra Tomatoes
                12-24 inch soil ...
Soil Nutrient Research 2008
           Unfertilized Plots
                  Cobra Tomatoes
                12-24 inch soil...
Cucumber Results
                        2008
                                 Cucumbers
  Sweet Success

     Fertilized ...
Soil Nutrient Research
                  2008
            Fertilized Plots
        Sweet Success Cucumbers
           0-6 ...
Soil Nutrient Research
                 2008
          Unfertilized Plots
        Sweet Success Cucumbers
           0-6 i...
Soil Nutrient Research
                   2008
             Fertilized Plots
           Sweet Success Cucumbers
          ...
Soil Nutrient Research
        2008 Unfertilized Plots

        Sweet Success Cucumbers
           6-12 inch soil depth

 ...
Soil Nutrient Research
                  2008
             Fertilized plots
           Sweet Success Cucumbers
           ...
Soil Nutrient Research 2008
          Unfertilized Plots
        Sweet Success Cucumbers
          12-24 inch soil depth

...
2009 Soil Fertility Results

As in 2008 the high tunnel was divided into
two areas for fertigated and unfertigated




   ...
Compost Fertility Composition
          2009
N   2418
P   407
K   2321
S   120
B   7.0




       © 2009 Regents of the Un...
Cucumber Yields 2009
Variety : Sweet Success

Fertilized, Yield per plant = 42 pounds

Not Fertilized ,Yield per plant = 2...
Preplant Soil Test.
                2009
            N                P                K
0-6        630              198  ...
Cucumbers
  after harvest fertilized/drip tape
                    N                   P                    K
0-6 inch    ...
Cucumbers
After harvest not fertilized/drip tape
       N                    P                 K
 0-6   36 lb/ac          ...
Tomato Yields 2009
Variety: Cobra

Fertilized/drip tape : 31 pounds/plant

Not fertilized 25 : pounds plant.




        ©...
Tomatoes after harvest
         fertilized/drip tape
               N                     P                    K
O-6 inch ...
Tomatoes
after harvest not fertilized/drip tape
              N                     P                     k
0-6 inch   28 ...
Is Organic Production Feasible?
 The 2007, 2008, and 2009 research and
 demonstration projects show that organic
 producti...
Organic Production Concerns
1. Adequate fertility to supply nutrient
     needs of high yields in the high tunnel.
      -...
Organic
    Concerns/Recommendations
4. Continual feeding of plants even if a small
  amount of nutrients.

5. Special pre...
Organic
    Concerns/Recommendations

7. Seed selection

8. Learn early disease identification

8. Have organic approved c...
Questions

??????????????????????????????????
??????????????????????????????????
??????????????????????????????????
??????...
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Organic High Tunnel Fertility Research

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Presented by University of Minnesota Extension professor, Terry Nennich at the 2009 Minnesota Statewide High Tunnel Conference in Alexandria, MN on Dec. 2-3, 2009.

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Organic High Tunnel Fertility Research

  1. 1. Organic High Tunnel Fertility Research Terrance T. Nennich Extension Professor Vegetable and Small Fruit Production University of Minnesota Extension nenni001@umn.edu © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  2. 2. High Tunnel Research Sites in Minnesota Experiment Stations Grower Cooperators © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  3. 3. © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  4. 4. © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  5. 5. Why Organic Fertility Research in High Tunnels? The Concept © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  6. 6. Organic soil fertility studies The purpose of this study is to measure the amount of soil nutrients, used buy tomatoes and cucumbers in a very high production system in high tunnels. © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  7. 7. The Organic System in High Tunnels As in any organic production system, chemicals and other commercial crop inputs are traded for excellent management. © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  8. 8. © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  9. 9. Crookston Organic Tunnel What we did? What Happened © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  10. 10. Water Testing Consider testing the water for at least nitrates . The Crookston high tunnel was being watered by the city water supply. © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  11. 11. Soil Texture Amending The soil texture at the Crookston site was a very heavy clay. ( Red River Mud) We desired to change to a sandy clay loam. To do this we added about one cubic yard of sand for every 100 square foot. © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  12. 12. Concerns from Previous High Tunnel Experiences 1999-2006 Enough soil fertility between residual and applied application to meet plant growth and yield. What is left at the end of the growing season for future production © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  13. 13. © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  14. 14. © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  15. 15. Soil texture The goal was to have a soil organic matter of at least 5% and ideally 6-7%. In order to accomplish this we added about ½ yard of composted horse manure per 100 Square ft. © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  16. 16. Soil Fertility Soil fertility must start out very high with enough organic matter to prevent leaching of nutrients. In this case horse manure was used It is very difficult to add enough soil nutrients organically after plants are established However there are some products that can help. © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  17. 17. Test the Sand Test for Basics - pH - Other nutrients are ok but not as important © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  18. 18. Compost/Manure Use only very well rotted manure Don’t assume that compost is high in nutrients. Do regular soil test plus micros May need to do a dilution test if the nutrients are extremely high (off the chart) © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  19. 19. Test the compost Horse Beef Plant N 2418 1410 321 P 407 310 106 K 2321 1830 482 © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  20. 20. Test Soil Before Planting After all incorporation and soil amending is done test the soil before planting. – In high tunnels test 9-10 inches deep. © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  21. 21. Planting Beds Planting beds were raised 1 inch (from 4 to 5 inches) Width of the beds were increased 4 inches (from 16 to 20 inches) – This increased the soil volume of the beds by approximately 55%, increasing available nutrients and soil moisture to the plants. © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  22. 22. © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  23. 23. © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  24. 24. Additional Fertilization A organic fish solution of a 4-1-1 was used that was compatible with the drip tape. The fish solution would be used on a continuous flow basis The rate would start at about 2 oz/100 running ft. of tape and increased to 6 oz as the nutrient needs of the plants increased. © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  25. 25. © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  26. 26. © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  27. 27. Plant Spacing Spacing between rows would remain the same at 48 inches. Plant spacing in the row would be increased to allow for more air flow and hopefully more natural disease control. Alternate plant spacing would be used to maximize nutrient availability and increase air flow around the plants. Hopefully the individual plants would compensate with increased yield. © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  28. 28. Plant Spacing In row plant spacing would be increased to : – 24 inches for indeterminate tomatoes such as Coba and Ultra Sweet. – 18 inches for determinant tomatoes such as Sunstart, Sunshine, and Mountain Spring. © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  29. 29. Plant Spacing – Cucumber varieties would be increased to 18 inches. – Peppers would remain the same 2 rows on a bed planted 18 inches in a staggered configuration © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  30. 30. Alternate Spacing © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  31. 31. Plant Pruning Reasonable plant pruning practices would be done to increase earliness, size and allow more airflow for disease control. – Determinate tomatoes would have 2 punning – Indeterminate tomatoes would have moderate continuous pruning – Christmas tree method pruning would be used to control side growth. © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  32. 32. © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  33. 33. Soil Nutrient Research 2007 Before planting soil was tested at 0-6 inches 6-12 inches 12-24 inches Soil was retested for each crop after season production. All plots were fertilized equally © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  34. 34. Tomato Results 2007 Variety Cobra First harvest June 21 Total Yield 37 Pound/plant Culls 4 Pound/Plant Marketable 3.89 Pound sq/ft Total Yield 4.63 Pound sq/ft Acre Yield 101 ton acre © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  35. 35. Soil Nutrient Research 2007 Cobra Tomatoes 0-6 inch soil depth N P K Before Season 335 330 1050 After Harvest 11 215 235 © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  36. 36. Soil Nutrient Research 2007 Cobra Tomatoes 6-12 inch soil depth N P K Before Season 100 150 580 After Harvest 8 80 320 © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  37. 37. Soil Nutrient Research 2007 Cobra Tomatoes 12-24 inch soil depth N P K Before Season 18 60 275 After Harvest 8 55 260 © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  38. 38. Cucumber Results 2007 Cucumbers All the fruit from all 26 cucumber plants were weighed and evaluated for quality. All data is in pounds per plant. Sweet Success First Harvest June 21 Total Yield/Plant 65.12 Culls 8.0 MKT/sq/ft 9,52 Total sq/ft 10.85 Total Yield Acre = 472,628 or 236 tons. © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  39. 39. Soil Nutrient Research 2007 Sweet Success Cucumbers 0-6 inch soil depth N P K Before Season 335 330 1050 After Harvest 12 175 256 © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  40. 40. Soil Nutrient Research 2007 Sweet Success Cucumbers 6-12 inch soil depth N P K Before Season 100 150 580 After Harvest 7 69 320 © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  41. 41. Soil Nutrient Research 2007 Sweet Success Cucumbers 12-24 inch soil depth N P K Before Season 18 60 275 After Harvest 6 60 235 © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  42. 42. Soil Nutrient Research 2008 The 2008 research question was: If the soil fertility is at high levels before planting will additional yield be obtained by adding a organic approved fertilizer to the irrigation water at a continuous flow rate through the season? © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  43. 43. Soil Nutrient Research 2008 The plots (rows) were divided in two, one half fertilized through drip tape, the other half received no supplemental fertilization Tomatoes from both plots were weighed and evaluated during the growing season. © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  44. 44. 2008 Soil Amending Enough manure based compost was added to raise the beginning soil nutrient levels to very high. © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  45. 45. Fertilized Plot Added 10 gallons of a 4-1-1 fish solution evenly through drip tape - per acre nutrients added were - N 280 - P 70 - K 70 © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  46. 46. Soil Nutrient Research 2008 Before planting soil was tested at 0-6 inches 6-12 inches 12-24 inches Soil was retested for each crop after season production. © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  47. 47. Tomato Results 2008 Variety Yield fertilized Yield Unfertilized Cobra 49 Pounds/Plant 45Pounds/Plant 269,500 Pounds/Acre 247,500 Pounds/Acre 134 Tons Acre 123 Tons/Acre © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  48. 48. Soil Nutrient Research 2008 Fertilized Plots Cobra Tomatoes 0-6 inch soil depth N P K Before Season 263 252 1349 After Harvest 26 235 173 © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  49. 49. Soil Nutrient Research 2008 Unfertilized Plots Cobra Tomatoes 0-6 inch soil depth N P K Before Season 263 252 1349 After Harvest 24 125 103 © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  50. 50. Soil Nutrient Research 2008 Fertilized plots Cobra Tomatoes 6-12 inch soil depth N P K Before Season 115 160 610 After Harvest 17 140 476 © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  51. 51. Soil Nutrient Research 2008 Unfertilized plots Cobra Tomatoes 6-12 inch soil depth N P K Before Season 115 160 610 After Harvest 13 111 269 © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  52. 52. Soil Nutrient Research 2008 Fertilized Plots Cobra Tomatoes 12-24 inch soil depth N P K Before Season 18 72 375 After Harvest 12 53 326 © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  53. 53. Soil Nutrient Research 2008 Unfertilized Plots Cobra Tomatoes 12-24 inch soil depth N P K Before Season 18 72 375 After Harvest 28 60 299 © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  54. 54. Cucumber Results 2008 Cucumbers Sweet Success Fertilized Unfertilized 18 Pounds/Plant 13 Pounds/Plant 132,000 Pounds/Acre 95,329 Pounds/ Acre 66 Tons/Acre 48 Tons/Acre There was considerably less yield in 2008, plants were removed early. . © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  55. 55. Soil Nutrient Research 2008 Fertilized Plots Sweet Success Cucumbers 0-6 inch soil depth N P K Before Season 263 252 1349 After Harvest 110 320 814 © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  56. 56. Soil Nutrient Research 2008 Unfertilized Plots Sweet Success Cucumbers 0-6 inch soil depth N P K Before Season 263 252 1349 After Harvest 122 185 318 © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  57. 57. Soil Nutrient Research 2008 Fertilized Plots Sweet Success Cucumbers 6-12 inch soil depth N P K Before Season 115 160 610 After Harvest 42 140 505 © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  58. 58. Soil Nutrient Research 2008 Unfertilized Plots Sweet Success Cucumbers 6-12 inch soil depth N P K Before Season 115 160 610 After Harvest 58 120 261 © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  59. 59. Soil Nutrient Research 2008 Fertilized plots Sweet Success Cucumbers 12-24 inch soil depth N P K Before Season 18 72 375 After Harvest 40 45 367 © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  60. 60. Soil Nutrient Research 2008 Unfertilized Plots Sweet Success Cucumbers 12-24 inch soil depth N P K Before Season 18 60 275 After Harvest 6 60 235 © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  61. 61. 2009 Soil Fertility Results As in 2008 the high tunnel was divided into two areas for fertigated and unfertigated © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  62. 62. Compost Fertility Composition 2009 N 2418 P 407 K 2321 S 120 B 7.0 © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  63. 63. Cucumber Yields 2009 Variety : Sweet Success Fertilized, Yield per plant = 42 pounds Not Fertilized ,Yield per plant = 28 pounds © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  64. 64. Preplant Soil Test. 2009 N P K 0-6 630 198 847 6-12 285 160 250 12-24 60 100 150 © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  65. 65. Cucumbers after harvest fertilized/drip tape N P K 0-6 inch 81 lb/ac 189 230 6-12 inch 44 lb/ac 150 140 12 – 24 inch 32 lb/ac 70 90 © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  66. 66. Cucumbers After harvest not fertilized/drip tape N P K 0-6 36 lb/ac 106 89 6-12 26 lb/ac 64 100 12-24 24 lb /ac 51 81 © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  67. 67. Tomato Yields 2009 Variety: Cobra Fertilized/drip tape : 31 pounds/plant Not fertilized 25 : pounds plant. © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  68. 68. Tomatoes after harvest fertilized/drip tape N P K O-6 inch 47 lb/ac 134 91 6-12 inch 28 lb/ac 108 145 12-24 inch 34 lb/ac 52 217 © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  69. 69. Tomatoes after harvest not fertilized/drip tape N P k 0-6 inch 28 lb/ac 97 72 6-12 inch 30 lb/ac 85 119 12-24 inch 54 lb/ac 95 128 © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  70. 70. Is Organic Production Feasible? The 2007, 2008, and 2009 research and demonstration projects show that organic production in high tunnels works well and can be very profitable if certain production practices are followed and high nutrient levels are maintained and supplied. © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  71. 71. Organic Production Concerns 1. Adequate fertility to supply nutrient needs of high yields in the high tunnel. - Special precautions will be needed the second and subsequent years. 2. Plant spacing may need to be increased 3. Air flow and keeping plants dry © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  72. 72. Organic Concerns/Recommendations 4. Continual feeding of plants even if a small amount of nutrients. 5. Special precaution to take out all old plant debris. 6. Extreme water management. © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  73. 73. Organic Concerns/Recommendations 7. Seed selection 8. Learn early disease identification 8. Have organic approved crop protectants on hand © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota
  74. 74. Questions ?????????????????????????????????? ?????????????????????????????????? ?????????????????????????????????? ?????????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????? © 2009 Regents of the University of Minnesota

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