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