US (NY): Soil health enhances high-tunnel tomato production

Foliar testing has become a farm-wide practice for Kirby’s Farm Market of Brockport, N.Y. — not just in their high tunnels, and for good reason: It’s an early clue of soil health needs for higher vegetable yields.

“Learning about soil health to enhance our high-tunnel tomato production impacted the entire farm,” says Chad Kirby, who operates the fifth-generation business with his parents Tim and Linda along with sister Stacey. The farm grows more than 25 different fruit and vegetable crops.

“We now use foliar testing to manage high tunnel tomatoes and field-grown tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and zucchini,” Kirby adds. Working alongside Cornell Extension Vegetable Specialist Judson Reid and Research Technician Cordelia Machanoff, he learned to collect and submit foliar samples to a lab for testing. Now, he also knows how to interpret reports of foliar-level macro and micronutrients crucial for healthy crops.

Read more at the American Agriculturist (Kara Lynn Dunn)

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