August 21, 2009 Tomato Workshop

The Studies:
Organic Production of Heirloom and Heirloom-type Hybrid Tomatoes by Jeanine Davis and Dilip Panthee
Farmers and gardeners have been very interested in the organic heirloom tomato studies that we have conducted at this research station since 2004. This year, there are two small studies to show you. In the organic heirloom tomato study, 11 heirloom tomato varieties and 9 new heirloom-type hybrids are being grown. Instead of comparing different disease and insect control programs as we have done the past few years, we took what we learned from those studies and created one organic disease and insect control program to test. What a year to test it! We also set up this whole study on a high-stake, string and weave system instead of a standard trellis system. You can help us evaluate the effectiveness of that. There will also be a taste test to compare all the varieties.

Assessing the Effects of Fertilizer Rates and Carbon-based Soil Inoculants on Tomato Growth and Yield by Jeanine Davis
Everyone is talking about biochar and how it can improve crop yields, remediate soils, reduce fertilizer use, sequester carbon, and as a byproduct of its manufacturing, be a source of an alternative fuel. This study is one of several in the Southeast testing CHARGROW, a biochar product inoculated with beneficial soil microorganisms. Different formulations of the product were used to grow the transplants at two rates. The plants are being grown under three fertilizer regimes. Organic disease and insect control products are currently being used. A member of the Carbon Char Group will be present to discuss biochar and CHARGROW.

Tomato Sandwiches Provided: Back by popular demand – free tomato sandwiches! Make your own sandwich-we’ll provide the tomatoes, bread and mayonnaise. Chips and tea will round out this light lunch.

Come Prepared: This workshop will take place outside. We will have canopies set up, tables, and chairs. But if it’s raining, bring an umbrella and if it’s sunny, bring your sunscreen. (There will not be presentations in the big building as during the past few years).

For More Information: Please call Terri Schell at 828-684-3562 or email her at

Funding: Funding for these two projects was provided by Brandt Consolidated ( and a member of the Carbon Char Group (

Who is Conducting These Studies: These studies are being conducted by Dr. Jeanine Davis, Associate Professor and Extension Specialist, and Dr. Dilip Panthee, Assistant Professor, in the Department of Horticultural Science at NC State University. They are located at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center in Mills River, NC. The Mountain Research Station maintains the research plots and provides technical support for the projects.