Soil Nutrient Management in High Tunnel Organic Tomato Production
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High tunnels provide the opportunity for producers to extend the growing seas·on later into the fall, and begin the season earlier in the spring. As the interior of the structure is distinctly different within a high tunnel when compared to the open air, nutrient management practices are different than under normal conditions. This project was designed to examine cover crop and composting practices related to yield expectation and soil building in high tunnels. Five treatments were tested; two groups consisting of a soy bean cover crop with or without a fertilizer, two groups involving compost with or without fertilizer, and a control group with no input. All treatments did increase productivity compared to the control, but only the cover crop fertilizer combination was found to be significant. We also found that each treatment experienced a similar pattern of productivity in terms of fruit marketability. Our study shows the economic potential of high tunnel production, and ability of the structure to extend the growing season. Further information will need. to be collected to refine any potential recommendations for nutrient management.