[Market-farming] No-till Dryland Pumpkins

road's end farm organic101 at linkny.com
Sat May 21 20:19:27 EDT 2005

On May 21, 2005, at 12:16 PM, robert schuler wrote:

>  I planted 14 acres of no till pumpkins, seeded rye in fall mowed it 
> down cut slots and seeded pumpkins in June. I hoped to just mow the 
> weeds until vines covered ground. It did not work as well as I 
> planned. Weeds took over after pumpkin vines run. Weeds harbor aphids 
> that spread virus into pumpkins...
> A successful no till method developed in NJ is to seed vetch in fall, 
> kill with paraquat in May and follow with roundup at pumpkin seeding. 
> Then apply a residual herbicide like Prefar or Strategy after seeding.

An organic version of the above that I've had success with: Rye and 
vetch seeded in September into the previous crop (assorted solanacea); 
till strips in the cover crop the next May, leaving the rest of the rye 
and vetch standing; seed pumpkins/winter squash in the tilled strip, as 
soon as soil's warm enough (generally early June, here). Mow the 
remaining rye and vetch strips at about the time that you seed the 
pumpkins/squash. When the pumpkins are up enough to see the row, till 
in the mowed rye and vetch (I used a disc, narrow enough to fit between 
rows); there will be a lot of biomass that won't till in well at first, 
leave it rough on this pass; then  hoe inbetween the plants, disc 
between the rows again just before the pumpkins/squash start to run, 
and seed clover. The pumpkins should at this point have enough head 
start to outgrow the clover and any remaining weeds. The clover grows 
enough to protect the ground over the winter, overwinters and takes off 
the next spring.

I have no idea whether this would work in Texas. And it certainly isn't 
no-till. But it is no-herbicide; adds a lot of N and organic matter; 
and keeps almost all the soil surface protected by plants almost all of 
the year.

-- Rivka; Finger Lakes NY, Zone 5 mostly
Fresh-market organic produce, small scale
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