Compost mulch no-tillage systems in organic vegetable production

Zoltán Dezsény


With growing agricultural demands from both conventional and organic systems comes the need for sustainable practices to ensure long-term productivity. In Hungary small scale vegetable growers face challenges in producing their crops due to the lack of effective weed control practices and viable methods of sustainable soil fertility management based on local or regional soil amendment resources. There is a demand for cultural practices that reduce hand labor requirements and black plastic mulches whereas long-term productivity is held or increased. To identify effective alternative weed control and soil fertility management options for the management of intensive organic vegetable systems, our research focuses on the evaluation of compost and paper mulches, in conjunction with reduced-tillage practices. In 2015 determinate tomato (cv. Roma) is grown in five different soil treatments using yard waste compost (YWC) mulch and combination of YWC and paper mulch (PM) plus bare ground control under intensive and reduced tillage variants to evaluate their effectiveness on organic tomato marketable yield and weed suppression. Since most organic tomatoes at present are grown on small acreage in Hungary, and are direct-marketed, the application of organic mulches can be assumed financially feasible. Our results will show if the combination of organic mulching materials together with reduced tillage may be a viable option for organic vegetable growers.

Keywords: alternative weed control, compost, compost mulch, paper mulch, organic, no tillage, vegetable, tomato

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