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Nitrogen Fertility Options for Organic High Tunnels

Cordelia Machanoff, Program Aide
Cornell Vegetable Program

Last Modified: May 25, 2017

Nitrogen Fertility Options for Organic High Tunnels
It is transplant season for high tunnel tomatoes, particularly on farms that have just completed an early spring greens crop. Now is the time to plan for fertility for the longer season tomato crop. Conventional high tunnel growers can rely on soluble fertilizers which are injected through drip irrigation at a precise rate. However, organic tunnel fertility is more challenging, particularly in regards to long season nitrogen delivery. Most organic nitrogen sources are not injectable and must be applied prior to planting. These often come with unbalanced ratios of other nutrients such as phosphorus, calcium and magnesium. Several years of foliar sampling in high tunnel tomatoes throughout NYS has shown that organic high tunnel tomatoes generally start out with sufficient or even excess nitrogen, but go into a mid-season dive in foliar nitrogen levels.

Given the longer season and higher yields of tunnel tomatoes, a nitrogen fertilizer to inject or side-dress will help prevent mid-season deficiencies.

Our recommendations and pre-plant and in-season organic nitrogen sources are provided in the PDF below.

This work is part of a 2-year project between CCE Cornell Vegetable Program and NOFA-NY with support from the New York Farm Viability Institute.

Nitrogen Fertility Options for Organic High Tunnels, May 2017 (pdf; 1094KB)

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JOB POSTING: Onion Crop Scout

Be a Vital Part of New York Onion Production!

We are looking for someone who appreciates agriculture to scout commercial onion fields in Oswego Co. and/or Wayne Co. for 13 weeks during the summer, maximum 19 hours/week, who would return to the seasonal position annually.

As an Onion Crop Scout for the Cornell Vegetable Program (CVP), you will independently scout 11 commercial onion fields collecting data on insect pests, diseases, weeds and crop stage/quality. Scouting data will be summarized into a preliminary report which is finalized by Cornell's Onion Specialist. Growers use the scouting reports to inform their spray decisions, which enables an integrated approach to pest management. Your hard work will ensure grower engagement, implementation of research-based recommendations, and early detection of emerging issues. It is the "beating heart" of CVP's onion program.

Pay: $18.50/hr. No benefits. Personal mileage will be reimbursed at the federal rate.

Key Qualifications & Skills:
  • High School diploma and 6 months experience in an agriculture setting, or the equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Must be able to meet the travel requirements of the position and have reliable transportation as well as have and maintain a valid and unrestricted New York State driver's license.
  • Visual concentration and attention to detail are required to detect pests and pest damage.
  • Able to work independently in collecting and summarizing data.
  • Must be able to work outdoors in all types of weather.
  • Proven experience in communicating effectively, both written and oral.
  • Preferred: Experience working with plants, plant disease and other pest identification.
Training will include being accompanied by a veteran onion scout for the first season with the intention of scouting independently in the second year, and ideally for several more years after.

Flexible on start and end dates, day(s) of week you work, and whether Oswego or Wayne or both counties are scouted. Our priority is finding someone who will return to the position annually.

Read details about the Onion Crop Scout position.

To apply (resume and cover letter): http://tiny.cc/Onion_Scout_WDR_00043345

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