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Science in action to improve the sustainability of agriculture, natural resources, and food systems
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Alternatives to Plastic Mulch for Organic Vegetable Production

Grant Information

  • Project ID: 009
  • Project Status: Complete

2004

2005

2006

2007

Publications

Miles, C., L. Nelson, and J. Reed. 2007. Alternatives to plastic mulch in vegetable production systems. HortScience 42(4):899.

Paper presented “Alternatives to plastic mulch in vegetable production systems,” American Society for Horticultural Sciences Annual Conference, July 16-19, 2007, Scottsdale, Arizona.

Degradable mulch incorporated into lecture Sustainable Vegetable Crop Production, Cultivating Success, and presented in 5 counties in 2007.

Two web pages were created based on information gained through this study:

http://vegetables.wsu.edu/AltMulch.html

http://www.hortla.wsu.edu/links/plasticulture.html

Additional Funds Leveraged

Sunshine Paper $1,000

USDA SCRI $2,097,183.

Miles, C. 2006. Investigating degradable mulches for organic vegetable production. WSCPR. $15,355.

Miles, C. and A. Schwartz. 2005. Alternative mulches for weed control in vegetable production. WSCPR, $14,691.

Miles, C. 2007. Evaluation of alternative mulches for weed control in organic vegetable production. NARF. $3,500.

Impacts

We have determined that degradable cornstarch and paper mulches may be allowed in organic systems, depending on their formulations. Degradable plastic products are not compliant with organic certification. Based on our results, manufacturing companies have redesigned their mulch products, and are test marketing in Washington state. Several growers have purchased paper mulch to experiment on their own farms.