Overwinter transplant production for extended season organic cropping
The objectives of this project, lead by EFRC, were to:
- identify acceptable organic fungicide products to control mildew in transplant production
- produce integrated organic transplant production systems for brassica, allium and lettuce over the autumn and winter period by identifying optimum cell/block sizes in relation to nutrient requirements and sources, growing media formulation, and supplementary feeding and watering
- evaluate developed transplant production protocols during the winter period
- undertake technology transfer and dissemination of the results
Protocols were tested for a range of crop species and varieties, growing media, cell size and feeding regimes over the three seasons under experimental and commercial conditions. It is possible to produce transplants of a suitable quality over the winter period although propagation time is generally longer than at more favourable times of year.
With respect to identifying acceptable fungicide products
- a range of fungicidal products was identified including L-Carvone, Mycosin, fennel and clove oils that showed potential in controlling mildew on a range of crop species. However the work also raised the question of the suitability of the use of such materials in organic systems which has not been resolved.
- work on spectral filters found no benefits to their use in transplant production
- cell size has minimal effect on disease spread