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More than 50 agents participated in a series of workshops that were offered as in-service training and as a graduate level North Carolina State University (NCSU) course worth four credits. The Organic Unit at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS), a 100-acre (40-ha) facility dedicated to research and education in organic farming systems, served as a home base for training activities. These training activities consisted of lectures, hands-on demonstrations, group discussions, field trips, and class exercises. Two unique features of the workshops were the interdisciplinary, team teaching approach and the emphasis on integration of information about interactions among production practices. This well-received, successful training program will serve as a model for future extension training. A training manual, slide sets, extension publications, and an organic farming web site are being created to provide agents with the resource materials they need to conduct county-based educational programming in organic production systems and enterprises. The model for extension training presented in this report is an effective means for engaging county agents in continuing education and professional development. Interdisciplinary teaching teams allow for a full, integrated treatment of subject matter and present a whole systems perspective to agents. Regularly scheduled, intensive sessions that accommodate busy calendars and utilize time efficiently provide a strong incentive for regular attendance. Awarding graduate level university credit hours for completion of required course work attracts and retains prospective student and agents. Encouragement of active participation by agents through hands-on field activities, open discussion of issues that impact agricultural and rural life, and field trips to view concepts presented in a real world context ensure that educational goals are fulfilled and that active learning takes place. This model should be used in future extension training programs.

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Peach (Prunus persica) trees were established and grown from 1996 to 1999 at the Rutgers Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Bridgeton, N.J., to compare performance under four methods of orchard floor preparation: flat no-till, flat cultivated, mound unmulched, and mound mulched orchard floors. The experimental site was flat and the soil was a well-drained Aura gravelly sandy loam (61% sand, 31% silt, 8% clay) with a pH of 6.5, cation exchange capacity 5.7, and organic matter content of 2.0%. Soil moisture holding and gas exchange capacity determine the efficacy of mounding in peach orchards. Under these conditions, the method of orchard floor preparation had no effect on peach tree trunk cross sectional area (TCSA), fruit number per tree, fruit size, and yield. Thus, without irrigation, there was no advantage to the early performance of peach trees associated with orchard floor mounding on Aura gravelly sandy loam when situated on a flat terrain.

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Green roof technology in the United States is in the early development stage and several issues must be addressed before green roofs become more wide-spread in the U.S. Among these issues is the need to define growing substrates that are lightweight, permanent, and can sustain plant health without leaching nutrients that may harm the environment. High levels of substrate organic matter are not recommended because the organic matter will decompose, resulting in substrate shrinkage, and can leach nutrients such as nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) in the runoff. The same runoff problems can occur when fertilizer is applied. Also, in the midwestern U.S., there is a great deal of interest in utilizing native species and recreating natural prairies on rooftops. Since most of these native species are not succulents, it is not known if they can survive on shallow, extensive green roofs without irrigation. Five planting substrate compositions containing 60%, 70%, 80%, 90%, and 100% of heat-expanded slate (PermaTill) were used to evaluate the establishment, growth, and survival of two stonecrops (Sedum spp.) and six nonsucculent natives to the midwestern U.S. prairie over a period of 3 years. A second study evaluated these same plant types that were supplied with four levels of controlled-release fertilizer. Both studies were conducted at ground level in interlocking modular units (36 × 36 inches) designed for green roof applications containing 10 cm of substrate. Higher levels of heat-expanded slate in the substrate generally resulted in slightly less growth and lower visual ratings across all species. By May 2004, all plants of smooth aster (Aster laevis), horsemint (Monarda punctata), black-eyed susan (Rudbeckia hirta), and showy goldenrod (Solidago speciosa) were dead. To a lesser degree, half of the lanceleaf coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata) survived in 60% and 70% heat-expanded slate, but only a third of the plants survived in 80%, 90%, or 100%. Regardless of substrate composition, both `Diffusum' stonecrop (S. middendorffianum) and `Royal Pink' stonecrop (S. spurium) achieved 100% coverage by June 2002 and maintained this coverage into 2004. In the fertility study, plants that received low fertilizer rates generally produced the least amount of growth. However, water availability was a key factor. A greater number of smooth aster, junegrass (Koeleria macrantha), and showy goldenrod plants survived when they were not fertilized. Presumably, these plants could survive drought conditions for a longer period of time since they had less biomass to maintain. However, by the end of three growing seasons, all three nonsucculent natives also were dead. Overall results suggest that a moderately high level of heat-expanded slate (about 80%) and a relatively low level of controlled-release fertilizer (50 g·m-2 per year) can be utilized for green roof applications when growing succulents such as stonecrop. However, the nonsucculents used in this study require deeper substrates, additional organic matter, or supplemental irrigation. By reducing the amount of organic matter in the substrate and by applying the minimal amount of fertilizer to maintain plant health, potential contaminated discharge of N, P, and other nutrients from green roofs is likely to be reduced considerably while still maintaining plant health.

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products may stimulate CRF use. Organic production methods rely primarily on cover cropping and the application of manure composts and other animal byproducts to provide nutrients ( Gaskell et al., 2007 ). Legume cover crops typically take up or fix between

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’ purchase of organic food products. A matter of convenience and reflexive practices Appetite 56 336 344 10.1016/j.appet.2010.12.019 Huber, M. Rembiałkowska, E. Średnickab, D. Bügel, S. van de Vijver, L.P.L. 2011 Organic food and impact on human health

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place plants in areas that optimize the sunlight, soil, and moisture requirements of that species; i.e., “right plant, right place.” A strong emphasis is placed on promoting soil health by increasing soil organic matter and enhancing the biological

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many researchers compare biodynamic and conventional methods to one another. Since modern biodynamic agriculture includes well-established organic practices that improve the soil by adding organic matter or decreasing compaction, the comparison may not

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management have the potential for contaminating water bodies adjoining farmland. Organic growers are limited to organic sources of N or those derived from natural processes. Soil organic matter (SOM) is the backbone of N supply in organic production, and

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to prevent this from happening. Although shade tree leaves are rich in C compounds, which build soil organic matter content, the material is relatively low in concentrations of essential plant nutrients ( Table 1 ). On average, community shade tree

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Natural (hay, wood chips, recycled paper pulp) and synthetic (polypropylene film and polyester fabric) mulches were compared with mechanical tillage and residual herbicides as orchard groundcover management systems (GMSS). In two New York orchards-the Clarke farm and Hudson Valley Lab (HVL—GMSS were applied from 1990 to 1993 in 1.8-m-wide strips under newly planted apple (Malus domestica; `Liberty', `Empire', `Freedom', and advanced numbered selections from the disease-resistant apple breeding program at Geneva, N.Y.) trees. GMS impacts on soil fertility, tree nutrition and growth, yields, crop value, and vole (Microtus spp.) populations were evaluated. After 3 years at the Clarke orchard, extractable NO3, Mn, Fe, B, and Zn concentrations were greater in soil with herbicides than synthetic mulches; soil K and P concentrations were greater with herbicides and wood chips than synthetic mulches. At the HVL orchard, topsoil NO3, K, and Mg concentrations were greater with hay mulch than herbicides or other mulches; Mg, Fe, and B concentrations were lower in soil with wood chips than other GMSs. Soil organic matter content was not affected by GMS. Apple leaf N, K, Cu, and Zn concentrations were greater with herbicides, hay mulch, and polypropylene mulch than cultivation or recycled paper mulch at the HVL orchard during hot, dry Summer 1991. Despite transient differences among GMSS during the initial years, after 4 years of treatments there were no consistent GMS trends in cumulative tree growth or gross yields. The higher establishment and maintenance costs of several mulches were offset by their prolonged efficacy over successive years; crop market values from 1992 to 1994 were considerably greater for trees with polypropylene film, polyester fabric, and hay mulches than herbicides, cultivation, or other mulches. Voles caused more serious damage to trees in synthetic and hay mulches, despite the use of mesh trunk guards and rodenticide bait.

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