Organic vegetables in the Southeast United States


Production of organic vegetables in the Southeast lags well beyond organic production in other sectors of the country. Climate contributes to increased insect pest and disease pressure; year round vegetable production results in continual degradation of soils. Sustainable methods of pest control and soil quality enhancement are difficult to achieve under these conditions.


Our approach


Members of our team have been investigating sod based rotation as a means to enhance soil quality for over a dozen years.   We have repeatedly shown that sequential years of bahiagrass enhances soil organic matter, porosity and different aspects off soil quality.   In these experiments we investigated the effects of sequential years in bahiagrass (0-4 years)   Additionally, we compared strip tillage to conventional tillage as a means to further conserve soil quality. The cool weather crops broccoli and green beans were utilized to minimize potential pest pressures. All crops were placed in a four season rotation utilizing oats/rye as a winter cover crop and soybeans as a summer cover crop.

Details of the experimental design are shown here.

Stakeholder interaction


We’re excited and encouraged by the results integrating sod based rotation with organic vegetable production. This multidisciplinary study not only established effects on crop yields but also investigated effects of sod based rotation and strip tillage on soil characteristics, pest pressures (nematodes, insects and weeds) as well as documenting the economics of utilizing these systems.

Our ultimate success, however, depends on getting research results to the most important people – you, the growers. We have partnered with extension specialists at the University of Florida. Florida A & M University and the University of Georgia in order to communicate these results.   We have also partnered with local organic growers such as Ragged Glory Farms.

But we would also like your input to evaluate our results, assist in development of further research, or to assist you if you have any questions. Please utilize our interactive page if you have comments, questions, or would like to communicate other results concerning organic production tin the Southeast.