OSC Activity D.4
Organic production of vegetable transplants for gardeners
|Martine Dorais, Lead Researcher
|Valérie Gravel, Collaborator
Department of Plant Science
|Jean-Claude Dufour, Collaborator
Department of Agricultural Economics and Consumer Sciences
In general, to develop an organic greenhouse production system for vegetable and herb transplants for gardeners. Specifically to:
- Determine the optimal organic growing media for producing high quality vegetable transplants
- Develop appropriate fertilization management for high quality vegetable and herb transplants
- Study the effect of different organic nitrogen forms on growth and transplant quality
- Study the effect of plant growth stimulators on transplant quality and disease tolerance
- Determine, among the available biodegradable containers the one most suitable for organic vegetable transplant production
- Survey consumer demand for organic vegetable and herb transplants (gardening)
- Evaluate the profitability of organic transplant production compared to conventional transplants
The objective of this activity is to develop an organic greenhouse production system for vegetable and herb transplants for gardeners. Experiments will be performed over a three-year period (3 typical production cycles). In the first year of the experiment, five different growing medium will be compared. Tomato, sweet pepper, cucumber and basil transplants will be tested in this experiment. Plant biomass, mineral content of the growing medium and physical properties of the growing medium will be evaluated at each stage of the transplant growth throughout the experiment.
For the second production cycle, the growing medium giving the best results in the first year will be chosen. Tomato and sweet pepper transplants will be tested in this experiment. This experiment will compare three solid fertilizers either incorporated within the growing medium or applied as a top dressing. Four rates of application will be tested. Plant biomass, mineral content of the growing medium and physical properties of the growing medium will be once again evaluated at each stage of the transplant growth.
For the third production cycle, this experiment will compare the effect of different plant growth promoters (PGPM) and biological control agents on the development of tomato and sweet pepper seedlings. Seven treatments will be tested: Kelp meal (solid), Kelp meal extract (liquid), Rootshield®, Mycostop®, Mycorrhizae (for example Myke®), Humic acids, and control (applied at recommended rates). Plant biomass, mineral content of the growing medium and physical properties of the growing medium will be once again evaluated.
Short bioassays will also be performed to test a larger number of plant types. The first series of trials will test the effect of the combination of the growing medium (mineral soil + peat + compost) and solid fertilizers on the development of eight plant types (tomato, sweet pepper, cucumber, broccoli, basil, parsley, cilantro, and oregano). The second series of bioassays will test the effect of plant growth promoters and biological agents on the same eight plant types. The same seven treatments as previously described will be tested.
A consumer survey will also be done over the three year period of the project to evaluate the interest and the demand for organic vegetable transplants. Consumers at the gardening center of Jardinerie Fortier will be surveyed in regards to their purchase habits and their demand for organically grown vegetable transplants. The Jardinerie Fortier, located at Plessiville (QC), is one of the most important bedding and potted plants producers in QC with 1.8 ha of greenhouses. They also produce vegetable and herb transplants for gardeners. They sell part of their product via their garden center, the other part is sold to municipalities and a chain store.
- Organic Fertilization and Its Effect on Development of Sweet Pepper Transplants
- HortScience (2012) 47: 198-204
- Organic Fertilization and its Effect on Development of Sweet Pepper Transplants [PDF - 51 kB]
- Canadian Organic Science Conference. 2012
- Organic Production of Vegetable and Herb Transplants [PDF - 70 kB]
- Canadian Organic Science Conference. 2012
- Perfecting the Potting Mix [PDF - 326 kB]
- The Canadian Organic Grower. 2012
Background and Supporting Documents
- Application for rhizobacteria in transplant production and yield enhancement
- Acta Horticulturae (2004) 631: 219-229
- Biological amendment, fertilizer rate, and irrigation frequency for organic bell pepper transplant production
- HortScience (2006) 41: 1402-1407
- Composted organic residues as a substrate component for tomato transplant production
- Acta Horticulturae (1998) 469: 263-274
- Impact of vermicompost on vegetable transplant quality
- HortScience (2005) 40: 2020-2023
- Nitrogen sources for organic vegetable crops
- HortTechnology (2007) 17: 431-441