Fruit and Veg
Regardless of the crop you want to produce, your most important asset is your soil.
Unfortunately, this is the asset (the soil) that farmers understand the least. Most farmers know more about tractors, hydraulics and machinery in general than they know about their soil. We encourage an understanding of your soil, how it works and what you can do to make it fertile; how to improve the structure, reduce cost of production and increase yield potential.
Everything starts with a detailed soil fertility audit and a plant tissue analysis which will identify limiting factors including compaction, ‘locked-up’ nutrients, imbalances in mineral levels and which, if any, soil ammendments would be effective.
‘Fruit and veg’ cover a wide range of crops so although there are only a few mentioned here, we can advise on the following: Root vegetables, Brassicas, Lettuces, Maize, Onions, Peas, Beans, Asparagus, Fruit trees, and Soft fruits. Please contact us for specific information if required.
The main role for nitrogen in most crops is to build protein, maintain green leaf area and promote the conversion of sunlight into plant food. This is particularly important for potatoes where canopy management directly relates to tuber bulking rates and dry matter accumulation.
Dependent on variety and growing conditions, potatoes need a constant supply of nitrogen from tuber initiation onwards in order to deliver uniformity of grade size and tuber quality; however, potatoes are sensitive to increasing levels of soil nitrogen which can effect tuber set and encourage crops to develop more above ground than below.
To improve tuber size and eveness, apply a foliar feed that includes all necessary trace elements including calcium, zinc and believe it or not – selenium. Trials undertaken in Finland showed that selenium increased carbohydrate accumulation and yield as a result of the antioxidant properties delaying senecence. High selenium in the tubers improves storage quality as well as improving processing qualities.
Carrots are especially susceptible to soil compaction and low ‘available’ calcium will increase the risk of cavity spot. You can have a high pH soil but still have a low ‘available’ level of calcium. The fact is that pH measures acidity in the soil it does NOT measure calcium. If this is the case, you need to make the calcium more ‘available’.
If the soil biology is too low it will affect the plant nutrient uptake, plant health and structure of the soil. We can measure the full range of soil organisms or just give an over view. If levels are too low they need to be increased – simply FEED THE SOIL!
Trace elements are very important but if the soil nutrient balance is incorrect, then chances are some of the trace minerals will be out of balance. Boron is especially important, as with calcium, this will directly affect the soil structure.
All of the above (see carrots) is also true for lettuces, but here we may need to consider more of the soil organisms, especially Mycorrhizal fungi which will help protect the crop from soil borne disease. Mycorrhizal fungi will cause soil particles to aggregate which in turn improves water infiltration, increases air space and encourages other beneficial microbes to build humus, fix nitrogen and improve soil structure.