PROBLEM: Research points increasingly to the use of microbial innoculants to foster plant nutrition and combat pathogens (See USDA ARS’s Kuykendall’s recent findings). Growers and horticulturists need to be aware of these findings and taught correct mixing and application of bacterial/fungal preparations.
SIGNIFICANCE: Compost teas can help retain nutrients in the rhizosphere that would otherwise be leached into ground water. Others form protective sheaths around root hairs or produce exudates that block pathogens from attacking the crop. The net effect of these preparations is to reduce fertilizer and pesticide use.
STRATEGY: Conduct compost tea seminar with a discussion of underlying science and demonstration of mixing and application. Speakers will include: John Lafleur, Ganna Walska Lotusland in Santa Barbara; John Agulia, ABC Organic Research Foundation; and Michael Alms, Growing Concern.