Measuring Active Carbon to Predict Seasonal Nitrate Mineralization on Organic Farms

The overall goal of this project is to make organic farming more profitable for growers by linking fertilizer applications to plant requirements. In addition to being cost effective, the project will protect waterways by eliminating runoff of excess fertilizers. Soil tests will be conducted at eight organic farms in Western Washington to measure the release of nitrogen from organic materials. That information will ultimately help organic farmers adjust the timing and amount of fertilizers they use to maximize crop production and avoid waste and protect water quality in surrounding areas.

Photo from measuring active carbon 

(Left) Broccoli plants growing in a zero-nitrogen plot at Plum Forest Farm, Vashon Island, WA. Photo by Rob Peterson, farmer participant. 
(MIddle)  Cooperating farmer Clayton Burrows, Growing Washington, Everson, WA, assisting with soil sampling.  Photo by Doug Collins
(Right)  Mature broccoli ready for harvest from Plum Forest Farm, Vashon Island, WA.  Photo by Rob Peterson.