(166) Weed Suppression and Nitrogen Management of Organic Broccoli

in HortScience
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  • 1 Virginia Polytechnic and State University, Department of Horticulture, Blacksburg, VA

Weed suppression and nitrogen (N) management present the greatest challenges to organic growers. Cover crops, the strategic use of tillage, and multiple nitrogen sources are being investigated in order to develop integrated management practices. Combinations of legume and grass cover crops are being utilized as alternative N sources and as tools for weed suppression. Another objective is to compare conventional and no-till practices to determine when the strategic use of tillage is most beneficial for N management and weed control. The last objective is to evaluate the fate of applied N and N released from cover decomposition on crop development. The best combinations of cover crop species, the frequency and intensity of tillage, and optimum N rates will be determined for the production of organic broccoli. This project will aid growers interested in transitioning to organic farming. In addition, integrated management practices that balance the short-term needs for crop productivity and the long-term interests of sustainable production will be reported.

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