Considering Cover Crops? Find Out Which Method Works Best | Growing Produce

In 2014, I met a vegetable grower interested in expanding dryland squash production while reducing his use of plastic mulch. His hope was to plant a cover crop and modify tillage to manage weeds and soil moisture, all-the-while maintaining yields.

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.

Source: Considering Cover Crops? Find Out Which Method Works Best | Growing Produce

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