So in 2015 and 2016, we ran a two-year project investigating the moisture retention capacity and nutrient management of a fall-planted rye mulch. We tested how butternut squash grew under no-till, strip-till, plasticulture, and bareground production methods.
In 2018, we hope to trial a system like this for cole crops.
Incorporating cover crops has a learning curve. Hopefully, both organic and conventional growers can learn something from our work.
What We Learned from Planting
One advantage of running the project over two years is that you can see the results of mistakes and intentional methods. In 2015, we used about half the rye seed we intended to — 70 pounds per acre (lb/ac). In 2016, we used our target amount of 120 lb/ac.