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Weed Control Considerations
for Organic Tomato Production

April 2015

By Doug Doohan, Ph.D.
Professor & State Specialist
Horticulture & Crop Science
The Ohio State University

Watch Presentation (42 min 25 sec)

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Summary: Controlling weeds is the number one problem for many organic vegetable farmers. Weed control in tomato may involve the use of different kinds of mulches, flaming, or herbicides that are approved for organic production. The connection between weed control and soil quality may not be immediately apparent, but on close examination the two are intrinsically linked. In this webcast we will explore aspects of that linkage and look at how good soil management may create an environment less favorable to weed growth.

In particular we will explore the idea of ‘soil balancing’, popular with organic farmers, and lay out a scientific basis for why a balanced soil may create an optimum environment for crop growth that will be very competitive with weeds. Farmers, consultants, county agents and those who provide soil amendments to farmers will all gain a better understanding of soil balancing and how the judicious use of limestone and gypsum can improve soil quality.

You will learn what is meant by 'soil balancing’, and the science behind the theory of the ‘basic cation saturation ratio’ approach to soil management. You will learn to recognize the facts about soil balancing as well as the pseudo-science that is so commonly encountered on this subject. Finally you will also learn about other tried and proven techniques that will help you get weeds under control, whether you farm organically, or conventionally.

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