Unveiling the Role of Tomato Planting in the ONEforest Project

Yes, you read correctly. We are indeed planting tomatoes in ONEforest.

Our partners at the University of Trento's Polymer and Composites Laboratory have initiated an exciting new research endeavor as part of the ONEforest project, focusing on the investigation of topsoil cover. Specifically, they have chosen to conduct experiments using tomato plants. The primary objective is to explore the impact of their newly developed bio-based products on plant growth in agricultural applications.

“The idea of this experiment is to test our materials on plants with a shorter lifespan than trees (such as tomatoes), to get a quick response to the effect of these materials in a real application. With this kind of experiment, we can more quickly evaluate the behavior and properties of our materials when applied in the field”, explains Alessandro Sorze.

The study is being conducted under the supervision of Alessandro Sorze and Francesco Valentini. They have initiated a trial that involves planting 72 tomato seedlings, utilizing various combinations of topsoil cover (TSC) and soil conditioner (SC). The purpose of this trial is to evaluate the viability and effectiveness of these materials in agricultural settings.

The TSC utilised in this experiment is a biodegradable mulching film, designed to envelop the seedlings. Its role is to enhance the regulation of moisture evaporation from the soil, while simultaneously safeguarding the plants from potential weed competition. On the other hand, the SC is a product that is blended with the soil in the planting hole, with the aim of improving the soil's chemical, physical, and water-regulating properties.

The objective of this experiment is to analyze the impact of these developed products on the growth of tomato seedlings. The study will continue until the plants reach full maturity, allowing for a comprehensive assessment of the long-term effects.