Research

UK Organic High Tunnels

Sustainable soil and water management (Kentucky NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant)

We are working with our friends at Grow Appalachia, the Laurel County African American Heritage Center, and Greenhouse 17 to develop rainwater catchment and irrigation systems to help improve crop quality and soil and water conservation using low-tech, affordable technologies, such as:

  • Rainwater catchments
  • Ultra-low pressure drip irrigation systems
  • Cover crops and conservation tillage systems

Sustainable nutrient cycling on diversified farms (USDA-AFRI Foundational Programs

This project explores the effect of intensification in organic production systems across a gradient of 5 types of farming systems, with varying degrees of fertility, tillage, labor, and other inputs.  In addition to studying carbon and nitrogen cycling, focusing on key loss pathways to the environment, we are also partnering with University of Georgia researchers to analyze energy inputs and outputs in these systems to better contextualize their overall sustainability.  This project is the focus of PhD student Debendra Shrestha's research.  


Planting date study

This project is exploring the season-extending potential of "deep winter" or "solar" greenhouses, high tunnels, and field systems using tomatoes as a model crop.  This two year study compares 4 planting dates appropriate to each system, comparing date to first fruiting and total yields across this variety of season-extending structures.