Organic Transition: Unwrapping Challenges for Growing Vegetables
Type of DegreeMaster's Thesis
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This study was conducted using four different growing systems (high tunnel, conventional open field, organic open field, and hydroponics) to determine which growing system would have the greatest results for lettuce production in the Southeastern U.S. Also, within this study, research for transitioning from conventional to organic vegetable production was reported. Land use treatments included fallow ground, tillage, cover crop, and the growing of a vegetable crop (i.e., tomato). Results indicated that lettuce cultivars Truchas, Monte Carlo, and Breen are well suited to organic systems, Bluerock, Breen, Coastal Star, Milagro, Newham, and Panisse are well suited to high tunnel system, and Grazion, Panisse, Salanova Green Butter, and Bauer are well suited to hydroponics systems. In the transition to organic production, planting sorghum as a cover crop was the most advantageous method to reduce weed pressure, reduce soil compaction, and promote beneficial soil parameters.