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Soil and fertilizers

Tomato nutrients linked to pH, phosphorus management

“As irrigation water is often high in pH and bicarbonate, high tunnel soils generally climb the pH scale without precipitation to leach through the profile,” Jud Reid, Cornell Vegetable Program, told Vegetable Grower News. “The result of is lower nutrient levels in the plant foliage, ultimately decreasing vigor and yield. Manganese (Mn) deficiency is often the first sign of this problem.”

Solutions include measuring and adjusting pH of irrigation water and using sulfur to reduce soil pH prior to planting.

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High tunnel’s ‘tired soil’ mystery solved

Via American Agriculturalist [2016-05-17]:

How did Muddy Fingers Farm at Hector, N.Y., harvest a 13.6% net income gain and 1,700 pounds more of high-quality salable produce in 2015 compared to 2014? The answer: By tweaking high tunnel soil health management practices.

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Watch soil pH in tunnels and greenhouses

From the August 26, 2009 issue of PestMinder, a weekly publication of the Cornell Cooperative Extension Vegetable Program:

Greenhouse/High Tunnel Crops: Disturbing greenhouse tomato foliar tests came in this week that showed low levels of zinc, manganese and potassium. Soil tests indicated these nutrients were at adequate levels.

So what was the problem?

A soil pH of nearly 8.0 made these nutrients unavailable to the plant.

Any solution will have to be drastic: massive leaching or soil removal. Switching to pots or hydroponic production is another option. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Acid injection, soil rotation and annual leaching with clear water will help prevent the pH from climbing in soil-based tomato greenhouses.

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