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on previous organic tree fruit grower surveys, the three top production issues identified for Washington were crop load management, weed control, and soil fertility ( Cornwoman and Granatstein, 1994 ; Granatstein, 2003 ). The latter two management

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Abstract

Fall-planted spinach (Spinacia oleracea L., cv. Bloomsdale Long Standing), field grown 2 successive years in Plant Hardiness Zone (PHZ) 5 at Manhattan, Kansas, under 13 soil fertility treatments, withstood as low as −21°C and yielded satisfactorily a month earlier than when spring planted. There were no significant differences in yield due to soil fertility treatments.

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bedrocks with low soil fertility. The nutrients in these soils are prone to leaching through the coarse-textured soil profiles by heavy rainfall events that occur mainly during the rainy summer season. On average, more than 1000 mm of rain happens between

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During the initial season of implementation, four tomato production systems differing in soil management, pest control practices, and level of inputs, such as labor, materials, and management intensity were evaluated. These systems were CON, a low input (no mulch, no trellising, overhead irrigation, preplant fertilization, scheduled pest control), conventional agrichemical system; BLD, a high input [straw mulch, trellising, trickle irrigation, compost fertility amendment, integrated pest management (IPM)], ecologically-oriented system that emphasized the building up of soil organic matter levels and used no agrichemicals to supply fertility or for pest control; BLD+, a system similar to BLD, except that agrichemical pesticides were used; and ICM, a high input system (black polyethylene mulch, trellising, trickle irrigation, fertigation, IPM pest control) that used agrichemicals to supply fertility and for pest control. Soil characteristics and fertility levels in the BLD and BLD+ systems were modified with extensive amendments of spent mushroom compost and well-rotted cattle manure. Levels of agrichemical NPK calculated to meet current crop needs were supplied to the CON and ICM systems, with 75% of fertility in the ICM system supplied through the trickle irrigation lines (fertigation). The BLD system had a greater soil water holding capacity and sharply reduced irrigation requirements. During a wet period, fruit cracking and evidence of water-mold root rot were significantly higher in the ICM system than the BLD and CON systems. Defoliation by Alternaria solani was greatest in the BLD system and least in the ICM system. The BLD and ICM systems resulted in a 1 week earlier peak yield compared to the CON system. The yield of No. 1 fruit was 55% to 60% greater in the BLD+ system than the other three systems, which were comparable in yield. Net return was highest in the BLD+ system, although the benefit/cost ratio was greatest in the CON system. This multidisciplinary study has identified important differences in the performance of diverse production systems during the unique transitional season.

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, and off-farm employment, the difficulty of managing this complexity was heightened. To our knowledge, the management complexity described here has not been identified by previous high tunnel research. Managing soil fertility and diseases in an

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GMSs, which in turn increased availability of other nutrients because of the pivotal roles of organic matter in soil fertility ( Diacono and Montemurro, 2010 ). In a comparable long-term GMS study, Morlat and Chaussod (2008) observed significant

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18% to 27% ( Sacks and Francis, 2001 ). The majority of the variability was the result of unknown causes or interactions between variables (25% to 50%). We postulated that location differences are closely tied to soil properties and soil fertility

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positively correlated to soil fertility, whereas drought or flood produced less biomass. Buckwheat requires at least 700 GDD 50 in 6 weeks after planting to produce sufficient biomass of 1.5 tons/acre ( Fig. 7 ) and justify its use as a cover crop. In New

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surface area ( Lehmann, 2007a ; Thies and Rillig, 2009 ). Studies have shown that soil amendments with biochar have improved soil fertility, as a result of an increase in pH of acid soils ( Zwieten et al., 2010 ), or increase in nutrient retention as a

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fertilizer, the potential for N mineralization increases ( Zuberer, 2005 ), increasing N availability to the turfgrass. Organic fertilizers thus have the potential to increase soil fertility and SOM content over the long term ( Booze-Daniels and Schmidt, 1997

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