The University of Minnesota has provided a new resource providing guidance to vegetable growers about improving irrigation management. The online resource page includes information about the importance of consistent moisture for horticultural crops, common vegetable problems related to moisture stress, weather and climate trends, the importance of timing, in-season irrigation management strategies, soil water monitoring and more.
“Over my two seasons as a vegetable crops educator in Minnesota, I’ve been surprised by the number of questions and photos I get about disorders that are related to irrigation issues. Have you ever experienced hollow heart in potatoes, blossom end rot in tomatoes or peppers, yellow shoulder in tomatoes, woody carrots, or hollow stems in broccoli?” said Natalie Hoidal, University of Minnesota extension educator, in an article for Vegetable Growers News. “While the causes of these disorders are often complex, fluctuating water levels are connected to all of them. I’m excited to share a new resource with all of you to provide some guidance about improving irrigation management.”
The first resource created by Hoidal and Vasudha Sharma, University of Minnesota extension specialist, is a webpage about soil moisture sensing. They decided to focus on soil moisture sensors because they are affordable and easy to use, especially for growers with multiple crops, and growers who farm both outdoors and in tunnels. Hoidal notes that vegetables are extremely sensitive to fluctuating moisture conditions in the soil, so it will become increasingly important for vegetable growers to monitor their soil moisture conditions to inform irrigation management.
Hoidal and Sharma hope to continue to create more tools related to irrigation management, including more information about irrigation infrastructure and fertigation.
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