Weeds are one of the top challenges for organic crop producers. Researcher Dr. Gladis Zinati set out in her OFRF project to look for a new practical solution for organic weed management: compost extracts. She just completed her project at the Rodale Institute in Kutztown, PA looking at whether compost extracts could reduce weed seed germination. She found that different types of compost vary in their ability to suppress weeds, and also in the undesirable effect of suppressing crop seed germination. She states, “The funding I received from OFRF was very integral to test the concept of compost extract as a tool for weed suppression.”
Compost is organic material that can be used as a soil amendment, and it provides the nutrients and minerals needed for plants to grow. Compost is made by combining different ratios of plant material, manure, and bulking agents like wood chips. A compost extract is liquid version of compost, rich with plant nutrients and microorganisms. For more information on compost and how to make extracts, visit the Rodale Institute compost extract page. The study at the Rodale Institute looked at one potential benefit of compost extracts – their ability to snuff out weeds before they sprout!