OSC Activity C.1

Crop nutrition for vegetable plant propagation

Activity Researchers

Name Affiliation
David Ehret, Lead Researcher
Plant Physiologist
Innovation and Renewal Team
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre
PO Box 1000
Agassiz, BC V0M 1A0


The objective of this activity is to optimize organic tomato, pepper and cucumber transplant growth, colour, and vigour by developing new low-cost organic substrates and new cultural information and methods that the grower may use to minimize nutrient deficiencies. The study will build on previous and somewhat similar research conducted at the Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre to develop organic substrates for long-term production of organic greenhouse tomatoes (Zhai, 2009).

Activity Summary

The production of organic transplants and seedlings is often overlooked in the rush to solve many of the pressing issues found in the organic industry. In general, a healthy, vigorous transplant is of paramount importance to any grower, setting the stage for a healthy productive crop. But in organic agriculture, healthy transplants are much more difficult to grow than by conventional means because of limitations in the availability of nutrients, particularly nitrogen, found in organic substrates.

This project will address that problem by developing new substrate components, formulations, and methods to maximize growth, health, and vigour of organic transplants. Through this research, organic propagators will experience increased sales and an improved reputation for producing quality plants. Those growers who purchase the transplants for subsequent production of organic greenhouse tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers will experience higher yields and profitability. The research will also have a positive effect on the production of transplants for field-grown organic vegetables.


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