Basil fusarium wilt is a seed-borne disease that can severely reduce basil yields. The biggest concern, however, is that the pathogen can persist in the soil for ten or more years preventing the future use of the land for basil production. The objective of this study was to develop organic control methods that would allow production in infested soil. Several organic mulches, a biocontrol product (Rootshield), and lime applications were examined on soil intentionally infested with fusarium. Basil plants mulched with a composted pine bark had the lowest incidence of fusarium wilt.
Small-scale and family-oriented organic growers must be continually innovative and efficient in their operations in order to remain in business. One strategy for small and organic farmers is development of niche markets and specialty or high-value alternative crops, such as medicinal herbs. The American Southwest has a large number of native medicinal herb species that have been used traditionally by indigenous and Hispanic cultures. By and large, these species have been wild-harvested from native stands, mostly for personal, family, or local use.