Organic no-till soybean production: Making it work in Ontario 2020, 2019 Research Project Cover Crops
Description
Growing cover crop-based organic no-till soybeans requires a different system approach than for standard organic production. Three years of extensive research trials in Ontario have guided the development of four key best practices for growing no-till organic soybeans following a cereal rye cover crop. This tip sheet is designed to provide practical advice for Ontario growers.
Publish Date
September 20, 2022
Farmer(s)
Jake Munroe
Tournesols sans labour dans le nord de l’Ontario 2021, 2020 Research Project Soil Health
Description

L’objectif de Becky était de voir s’il était possible d’établir des lieux de cultivation sans labour qui remplacerait de pâturages permanents existants pour la production de fleurs coupées.

En Bref

  • Le paillis de résidus de cultures, du compost profond et le travail du sol (témoin) n’a donné aucun résultat appréciable par faute d’une mauvaise germination dans la répétition de son essai.
  • Becky a eu de la chance en cultivant des tournesols dans deux parcelles de démonstration qu’elle a bâchées pendant 12 mois et 2 mois, respectivement.
  • Becky recommande d’utiliser des bâches pendant de 2 à 12 mois avant de tenter la cultivation dans des pâturages permanents
Read report in english
Publish Date
September 1, 2022
Farmer(s)
Becky Porlier
Summer and fall head lettuce variety trials 2020 Research Project Seed Production, Selection & Breeding
Description

The growers’ objective was to document the best summer and fall head lettuce across different farms throughout southern and eastern Ontario during the 2020 season.

In a Nutshell

  • Magenta, Muir, and Nevada were the top varieties with respect to overall vigor, flavour, and germination in the summer.
  • Green Star was the growers’ least favourite variety overall in the summer.
  • Magenta, Ruby Sky, and Red Mist (from Vitalis Organic Seed) were the top varieties with respect to overall vigor in the fall.
  • Encino was the growers’ least favourite variety overall in the fall.
  • Red Mist (from another seedhouse) had poor germination rates, demonstrating that seed source – and not just variety – matters.
Publish Date
November 11, 2021
Farmer(s)
Angie Koch, Ann Slater, Lise-Anne Léveillé, Jon Gagnon, Laurie & Corey Ahrens, Martina Schaefer, Hilary Moore, Harold Saunders, and Sarah Judd
Assessing methods for nutrient application to prevent chlorosis in chestnuts 2020 Research Project Soil Health
Description

To prevent chlorosis in chestnuts, Derick compared broadcasting and localized application of nutrient amendments to no amendment controls. After a year of growth, he measured tree height and leaf nutrient status.

In a Nutshell

  • Derick detected no difference in plant health or leaf nutrient status between the two amendment methods. Given the extra labour involved with the localized treatment, he will not broadcast any amendments moving forward.
  • He detected higher leaf potassium levels in the amended trees, which is important for iron availability in the plant.
Publish Date
August 11, 2021
Farmer(s)
Derick Greenly
Direct seeding into compost mulch 2020 Research Project Soil Health
Description

To reduce tillage for crops that are direct seeded, Jason tested different composts in a no-till deep bed system in one trial each of lettuce and carrots.

In a Nutshell

  • The substrates for deep compost mulch differed with respect to growing lettuce and carrots, but bare ground control produced the highest seedling count for lettuce and the greatest yield for carrots.
  • Optimizing the use of deep bed compost requires a systems approach since seeding depth and irrigation rate, etc. differ by substrate. It was not practical, however, for Jason to test each substrate in a systems- context which limits the applicability of these results.
Publish Date
August 11, 2021
Farmer(s)
Jason Hayes
Performance of Chantecler chickens on a reduced protein grower ration 2020, 2019 Research Project Livestock Feed
Description

Heather compared a standard protein ration with 16% protein to a reduced protein ration with 13% protein to see how her heritage Chantecler chickens responded during the grow-out period.

In a Nutshell

  • In 2019, Heather tracked the weight of three cohorts of chickens, taking more than 1,000 weight measurements of individual chickens.
  • There were no consistent differences in the weight of chickens on the two protein rations throughout the grow-out period.
  • There was also no detectable effect of reduced protein on finished live weight or dressed weight.
  • In 2020, Heather continued to use the reduced protein ration and would like to continue the trial over several seasons for more confidence.
Publish Date
August 11, 2021
Farmer(s)
Heather Newman
Efficacy of mycorrhizal inoculants on vegetable transplants 2020 Research Project Disease & Pest Control
Description

Given the incredible importance of fungi in our world, Dianne was curious if inoculants improved lettuce and onions yields, as these two species are known to grow in relationship with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF).

In a Nutshell

  • In 2019, she used AMF inoculants for the first time and observed particularly large, healthy lettuce and onions.
  • In 2020, she set-up a randomized and replicated trial comparing two inoculants to uninoculated controls for Ariana, Cantarix, Nevada and Skyphos lettuce and Patterson onion. While they were also large and healthy, Dianne detected no effects of the inoculants yield.
  • She wonders if the design of the trial was flawed because she unsuspectingly inoculated and/or resuscitated the mycorrhizal community of her whole garden in 2019.
Publish Date
August 11, 2021
Farmer(s)
Dianne Kretschmar
No-till tomatoes 3-ways 2020 Research Project Soil Health
Description

To further explore no-till techniques, Matt compared no-till tomatoes three ways: compost + landscape fabric, compost + cover crop + landscape fabric, and compost + cardboard + landscape fabric.

In a Nutshell

  • He detected no difference in cumulative or monthly tomato yield among the three methods.
  • He also detected no difference in water infiltration, an indicator of soil health, among the three methods.
  • This data indicates that adding cardboard or cover crops to compost and landscape fabric does not improve yield for no-till tomatoes; and cardboard and cover crops may be a useful means of further building soil without negative effects on yield.
Publish Date
August 11, 2021
Farmer(s)
Matt Jones
Assessing chronology of soil nutrient status in pastures across a topographic gradient 2020 Research Project Pasture Regeneration
Description

To help him optimize pasture growth, Andy assessed soil nutrient status from the top slope, side slope and bottom slope of a 50–year old pasture and a hay field that he will start grazing in 2021.

IN A NUTSHELL

  • Organic matter was higher in the older pasture but did not change significantly with topography.
  • Potassium, phosphorus and iron were also higher in the old pasture and potassium was higher on the top slope. Andy observed variations in manganese and copper for reasons that are unknown.
  • Andy’s observations of better soil health at the top of the hills weren’t supported by the basic assessment of soil nutrient status used in this study.
Publish Date
August 11, 2021
Farmer(s)
Andy Macdonald
Effects of liquid and biological amendments on emergence and yield of no-till planted spring cereals 2020 Research Project Soil Health
Description

To try to hasten emergence and improve yield of no-till planted spring cereals, Ken compared liquid amendment, biological amendment, a combination of amendments and a no-amendment control.

In a Nutshell

  • There was no observable difference in emergence due to amendments.
  • There was no significant difference in yield among the different treatments.
Publish Date
August 11, 2021
Farmer(s)
Ken Laing
In search of short season northern grain amaranth varieties: A screening trial of grain amaranth (Amaranthus spp) 2020 Research Project Seed Production, Selection & Breeding
Description

Amaranth is climate-resilient and nutrient-dense, and is an important Indigenous plant of the Americas. To learn which varieties of amaranth are best suited for their region of southern Ontario, Ronaldo and Myriam compared five varieties of amaranth in an unreplicated screening trial.

In a Nutshell

  • They observed differences among the varieties in germination, flowering times, flowering patters and yield and think that Grain Amaranth from Richters Herbs and Atitlan Dorado from IMAP Guatemala merit consideration for a replicated trial.
Publish Date
August 11, 2021
Farmer(s)
Ronaldo Eleazar Lec Ajcot and Myriam Legault
No-till fall broccoli in northern Ontario 2020, 2019 Research Project Cover Crops
Description

Ryan and Isabelle tested whether a crimped cover crop of rye and hairy vetch reduced tillage, cultivation and irrigation for their fall broccoli crop.

In a Nutshell

  • Compared to tillage, the cover crop residue provided sufficient mulch to significantly reduce weeding time and increase soil moisture throughout the growing season by 11%. There was adequate rainfall, so they didn’t need to use irrigation in the tillage plots.
  • Broccoli grown in crimped cover crop mulch had around half the marketable yield compared to the tilled plots.
  • The yield loss combined with no difference in total labour made this no-till system as tested unviable for broccoli production.
Lire le rapport en français
Publish Date
August 11, 2021
Farmer(s)
Ryan Spence & Isabelle Spence-Legault
In search of short season northern sweet potatoes: Variety trials of new sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) crosses 2020 Research Project Seed Production, Selection & Breeding
Description

To identify the best performing crosses of sweet potato for organic farming systems in the Ottawa area, Kate, Erin and Lise-Anne compared nine new crosses of sweet potato and one check variety (Covington) in a replicated and randomized trial across three farms.

In a Nutshell

  • They identified three varieties that they think are definitely worth continuing to grow and observe, and another two “runner-up” crosses that are alsopromising.
Publish Date
August 11, 2021
Farmer(s)
Kate Garvie, Erin Richan, Lise-Anne Léveillé
Brocoli d’automne sans labour dans le nord de l’Ontario 2020, 2019 Research Project Soil Health
Description

Ryan et Isabelle ont testé si une culture de couverture sertie de seigle et de vesce velue réduirait le travail du sol, l’entretien de la culture et l’irrigation pour leur récolte de brocolis d’automne.

En Bref

  • Par rapport au travail du sol, les résidus de culture de couverture ont fourni suffisamment de paillis pour réduire consid rablement le temps de d sherbage et augmenter l’humidité du sol tout au long de la saison de croissance avec 11% plus d’humidité que la parcelle de contrôle. Les pluies étaient suffisantes, de sorte qu’ils n’avaient pas besoin d’irriguer les parcelles de labour.
  • Le brocoli cultivé dans le paillis créé par la culture de couverture serti avait environ la moitié du rendement commercialisable par rapport aux parcelles labourées.
  • La perte de rendement combinée à l’absence de différence dans la main-d’oeuvre totale a rendu ce systéme sans labour, tel que testé, non viable pour la production de brocoli.
Read report in english
Publish Date
August 11, 2021
Farmer(s)
Ryan Spence & Isabelle Spence-Legault
Grafting for organic low-tech greenhouse tomatoes 2020 Research Project Seed Production, Selection & Breeding
Description

As a follow-up to their 2019 multi-farm trial, we compared 5 large tomato varieties and 4 cherry tomato varieties grown by grafting onto four different rootstocks and an ungrafted control.

In a Nutshell

  • The best choice of rootstock was specific to the scion, with some rootstocks producing no improvement or even reducing yield for some varieties of scion.
  • Compared to ungrafted plants, Caiman F1 large tomatoes had great yield and profitability when grafted DR0141TX rootstock.
  • Preliminary data suggest that only Sakura cherry tomato may benefit from grafting on Fortanimo or Estanimo, but more replicates are needed to be confident.
  • Preliminary data suggest that grafting “heirloom- like” hybrid varieties tested does not confer a yield advantage, but that open pollinated Striped German maybe benefit from being grafted onto Fortanimo.
Publish Date
August 11, 2021
Farmer(s)
R. Victor & Nathan Klassen
L’impact de l’utilisation des inoculants mycorhiziens pour sur les transplants de légumes 2020 Research Project Disease & Pest Control
Description

Compte tenu de l’importance incroyable des champignons dans notre monde, Dianne était curieuse de savoir si les inoculants améliorent les rendements de la laitue et des oignons, ces deux espèces étant capable de grandir en relation avec les champignons mycorhiziens arbusculaires (AMF).

En Bref

  • En 2019, elle a utilisé pour la première fois des inoculants AMF et a observé des laitues et des oignons particuli rement gros et sains.
  • En 2020, elle a mené un essai randomisé et répété comparant deux inoculants à des témoins non inoculé s pour la laitue Ariana, Cantarix, Nevada et Skyphos et l’oignon Patterson. Bien qu’ils soient également grands et sains, Dianne n’a détecté aucun effet sur le rendement des inoculants.
  • Elle se demande si la conception de l’essai était viciée parce qu’elle a inoculé et / ou ressuscité sans méfiance la communauté mycorhizienne de tout son jardin en 2019.
Read report in english
Publish Date
August 11, 2021
Farmer(s)
Dianne Kretschmar
Regeneration of fallow fields for vegetable production 2022, 2021, 2020 Research Project Cover Crops
Description

Eric compared five methods of preparing fallow land for vegetable production with respect to soil regeneration and cost to implement.

In a Nutshell

  • Cover crops with micronutrient amendments increased active carbon, a sensitive indicator of soil health and soil regeneration potential.
  • Micronutrient amendment alone did not increase active carbon; and Eric saw no added benefit with respect to soil health of adding chicken manure or woody compost with cover crops.
  • Balancing cost and soil health benefits, Eric will focus on micronutrient application and full season cover crops in areas that require regeneration.
Publish Date
August 11, 2021
Farmer(s)
Eric Barnhorst
Southern Ontario participatory pepper breeding project 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017 Research Project Seed Production, Selection & Breeding
Description
Key Findings

Continuing our work that began in 2016, members of the SeedWorks Plant Breeding Club worked together to breed and release an early, blocky sweet red pepper with good flavour that is adapted to ecological growing systems in southern Ontario. We continue to select for a yellow sweet bell pepper for release in fall 2021/winter 2022.


This trial was multi-year. Earlier reports and protocols can be found using the links below.
Earlier reports 2019 | 2018 | 2017
Earlier protocols 2019 | 2018 | 2017

Publish Date
July 14, 2021
Farmer(s)
Annie Richard, Kathy Rothermel, Greta Kryger, Rebecca Ivanoff, Kim Delaney and Arron Lyons
Summer green head lettuce variety trial 2021 Research Project Seed Production, Selection & Breeding
Description

The growers’ objective was to document the best green head lettuce for summer production across different farms throughout southern Ontario during the 2021 season.

In a Nutshell

  • Nevada was the top variety with respect to vigor, flavour, longest harvest, disease hardiness, and germination in this trial.
  • Muir was a runner-up to Nevada, but did have some germination issues and did not size up as well.
  • Concept and Encino were the growers’ least favorite varieties this year.
  • Overall, these results are consistent with the 2020 lettuce variety trial.
Publish Date
April 1, 2021
Farmer(s)
Angie Koch, Ann Slater, Hilary Moore, Martina Schaefer, Roger Thiessen and Romina Bortoluzzi, Roger Rivest, and Sarah Judd
Brocoli sans labour avec tissu couvre-sol dans le nord de l’Ontario 2021 Research Project Soil Health
Description

Suite à leur essai de brocoli sans labour en 2020 avec des cultures de couverture, Ryan et Isabelle ont testé du brocoli sans labour avec du tissu couvre-sol en 2021.

En Bref

  • Le brocoli cultivé en utilisant le traitement sans labour du tissu couvre-sol avait un rendement inférieur et nécessitait plus de maind’œuvre.
  • Malgré la faible performance du brocoli sans labour utilisant des paillis, Ryan et Isabelle croient toujours que le brocoli d’automne dans le nord-est de l’Ontario peut être cultivé avec succès dans un système sans labour, et essaieront probablement le brocoli sans labour sans système de paillis (culture de couverture ou tissu) en 2022.
Read report in english
Publish Date
April 1, 2021
Farmer(s)
Ryan Spence and Isabelle Spence-Legault