This is a neat piece of equipment, isn’t it? Can you guess what it’s for? If you guessed “monitoring soil moisture and temperature to measure nitrogen optimization in brassicas,” you’re right!
If you didn’t guess that, no sweat. Here’s what it means: We’re working with a team of WSU soil scientists to see how soil conditions affect the availability of nitrogen, a key nutrient for plant growth. The team stopped by last week to install a monitoring device that will keep a constant log of soil temperature and moisture in a section of our broccoli crop. They’ll test the soil throughout the season and compare the changing nitrogen availability to the changing soil conditions.
Studies like these help us dial in our fertilizing strategies, a perennial challenge for organic vegetable farmers.