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  • Author or Editor: Robert Hadad x
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Organic production of vegetable and fruit crops in Kentucky is gaining ground. Acreage and grower numbers are increasing. Health concerns and certain economic advantages for the grower are the impetus for rise in organic production. There is a need to collate cultural practice information and present it in a usable form for Kentucky. Work is being done to consolidate information on cultural practices, current research, and marketing opportunities. To address these concerns, older extension horticultural publications are being amended and new bulletins are being written. To accomplish this, grower meetings, farm visits, scouting for problems in crops, conducting research, and sifting through literature are some of the steps being taken. The greater implementation of cultural practices such as rotations, cover crops, green manures, living mulches, and minimum tillage are helping to reduce dependence on chemical sprays, chemical fertilizers, and soil destroying practices. Through this liaison, we are bringing together a new group of agricultural producers with interdepartmental specialists within the university and new insights and partnerships are being forged.

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A segment of the greenhouse crop market would like to obtain vegetables and herbs that are certified organic. The technology for the use of biological controls for insects and diseases is well-developed and a significant part of greenhouse vegetable production. Organic fertilizers, however, have not been well-utilized in organic greenhouse vegetable production. Common organic fertilizers were analyzed for the levels of nutrients when mixed with water for use in greenhouse fertigation. Products derived from algae-Algamin (liquid) and Ohrstrom's Garden Maxicrop (powder), Bat Guano, and products derived from fish waste-GreenAll Fish Emulsion (liquid) and Mermaid's Fish Powder, demonstrated nutrient levels comparable to typical water-soluble fertilizers used for greenhouse plant production. Although the organic fertilizers could not be used as a concentrate for injector systems, readings from a conductivity meter were directly related to nitrate nitrogen levels and could be used for fertilizer management in the capillary mat subirrigation system used for plant production.

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