[Market-farming] Rye cover crop; was Mulch

JOHN A HENDRICKSON jhendric at wisc.edu
Fri Dec 7 08:44:06 EST 2007


An additional note on the use of the rotovator for crimping; my friend said he ran across the field at an angle after using the cultipacker for initial roll-down.  -John

----- Original Message -----
From: Bill Shoemaker <wshoemak at inil.com>
Date: Friday, December 7, 2007 7:16 am
Subject: Re: [Market-farming] Rye cover crop; was Mulch
To: Market Farming <market-farming at lists.ibiblio.org>


> John
> 
> That was a great idea using the rotovator without the pto hooked up. 
> We've 
> used a cultipacker to knock the rye down but struggled with the 
> crimping 
> issue. I'll have to find a rotovator to use. We were looking at 
> pumpkins on 
> rye, and have for several years. The  biggest challenge has been 
> mechanized 
> planting, mostly because we haven't been able to find the funds for 
> purchasing a no-till transplanter. But we've had the chance to observe 
> 
> pumpkin plant growth on the rye cover crop. We've had excellent weed 
> control 
> too. Even more important, disease pressure has diminished, 
> particularly 
> fruit rots. They've been productive and with the new powdery mildew 
> resistant varieties the disease becomes even less of a factor. We just 
> need 
> to find a way to make stand establishment more reliable. Then I think 
> we'd 
> have a great mulch system, at least for space-loving crops.
> 
> Bill Shoemaker, Sr Research Specialist, Food Crops
> University of Illinois - St Charles Horticulture Research Center
> www.nres.uiuc.edu/faculty/directory/shoemaker_wh.html
> 
> 
> 
> >I have a friend here in Wisconsin that grew winter rye, rolled it down
> > using an old cultipacker and then a rotovator without the PTO hooked 
> up
> > (leaving the tines to just roll and crimp the rye stems).  He then hand
> > transplanted pumpkins and winter squash using a spade.  He then sat 
> back
> > to see the results and compare them with another planting on black
> > plastic and with drip tape.  Severe drought followed and the "no-till"
> > squash just sat there.  When rains finally came, the plants took off 
> and
> > did yield fruit (but not as much as the crop on plastic with
> > irrigation).  Weed control was excellent, however.  The grower plans 
> to
> > continue to experiment with this system and may eventually buy/build 
> a
> > roller/crimper.  Seems like an idea that has significant potential.
> >
> > -John
> >
> > TxBeeFarmer wrote:
> >> Steve,
> >>
> >> Actually, I do live close to Midland/Odessa.  I'm north of Big 
> Spring. 
> >> The
> >> idea of planting clover sounds good - where can I get the kind of seeds
> >> you're talking about?  When's the best time to plant it without 
> >> irrigation?
> >> I've also thought of planting wheat and knocking it down as a mulch 
> too, 
> >> but
> >> not sure how to do that either, unless I get a no-till planter.  
> But am
> >> thinking anything I grow and knock down won't be thick enough to do 
> any
> >> good.  As far as walkways, I only have skipped rows for a trailer 
> to go
> >> down.  Those are easy to mowed with the shredder or run down with 
> an 
> >> onion
> >> blade or disk.  Really can't plant just the skip rows - only have a 
> seed
> >> slinger for small seeds.  Yes, I'd like to know of some local 
> people who
> >> have straw bales.
> >>
> >> Thanks
> >> TxBeeFarmer (Mark)
> >> West Texas Zone 7b
> >>
> >>
> >> ----- Original Message ----- 
> >> From: "Steve Bridges" <steve at texasgrown.com>
> >> To: "'Market Farming'" <market-farming at lists.ibiblio.org>
> >> Sent: Wednesday, December 05, 2007 10:05 PM
> >> Subject: Re: [Market-farming] Mulch
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>> Howdy Mark, here's a couple of thoughts...
> >>>
> >>> On using hay, if you get what is commonly referred to as 'clean' 
> hay, 
> >>> then
> >>> it's highly likely that you'll be getting hay that was sprayed 
> with a 
> >>> weed
> >>> killer (Grazon, 2-4D, piclaram) that will stunt or kill your 
> veggie 
> >>> plants
> >>> when you plant into the hay. An easy way to discern if hay has been
> >>> sprayed
> >>> is to grind some up, mix it half and half with potting soil and 
> plant 
> >>> some
> >>> bean seeds into a pot. If the bean seeds develop their second set 
> of 
> >>> true
> >>> leaves without curling or stunting then you'll know there is no 
> >>> herbicide
> >>> in
> >>> the hay. Chances are this type of clean hay will not have a load 
> of weed
> >>> seeds in it...
> >>>
> >>> If you're getting hay that some farmers call 'organic' which is
> >>> non-fertilized and neglected (organic by neglect, not Certified), 
> then
> >>> you're probably buying hay that will have several generations of weed
> >>> seeds
> >>> in it. The few months of weed suppression you'll gain will not be 
> worth
> >>> the
> >>> years of newly inoculated weed seeds that you'll have to deal with.
> >>>
> >>> Being in West Texas, chances are you might be able to find a 
> farmer that
> >>> bales his wheat straw, which makes an excellent mulch and is going 
> to 
> >>> have
> >>> far fewer weed seeds in it than hay. If you're around the Midland/Odessa
> >>> area I can guide you to a few farmers that even have Certified Organic
> >>> wheat
> >>> straw for sale.
> >>>
> >>> I would suggest that you check out a book called Lasagna Gardening 
> for
> >>> tips
> >>> on how to plant into a layered, or mulched bed. See
> >>> http://www.motherearthnews.com/Organic-Gardening/1999-04-01/Lasagna-Gardenin
> >>> g.aspx It's gardening, but lots of good tips and growth for organic
> >>> agriculture have come from organic horticulture.
> >>>
> >>> One thing that you might try is using a long season clover to 
> plant in 
> >>> the
> >>> walkways to keep the weeds down. In a field trial of 29 different 
> cover
> >>> crops last year I found that red and strawberry clovers keep even 
> 
> >>> Johnson
> >>> grass from returning in the summer. These were huge trials of each
> >>> variety,
> >>> 40x800 feet, but where we had these clovers planted there was very 
> 
> >>> little
> >>> weed pressure all the way through the following summer. This year 
> I'm
> >>> trialing this as between-row plantings in cellulose and plastic mulched
> >>> beds
> >>> to see if it will keep Bermuda and Johnson grass at bay. Also, 
> I've 
> >>> rowed
> >>> up
> >>> my beds for next years corn, planted these clovers and will 
> strip-till 
> >>> to
> >>> plant the corn next year. I'm thinking that it's going to work judging
> >>> from
> >>> what I saw in the trials last year...
> >>>
> >>> Another thought is that, if you've got the land, you can grow your 
> own
> >>> mulch
> >>> crops such as a fast growing sudan, that you can cut and bale 2-3 
> times,
> >>> before it goes to seed, then you don't have to worry about what 
> you 
> >>> might
> >>> be
> >>> bringing in from another farm.
> >>> ~
> >>> Weeds be suppressed,,,never gone!
> >>>
> >>> ~~~~~~~~~~
> >>> Steve Bridges
> >>> Texas farmer
> >>>
> >>>
> >>> -----Original Message-----
> >>> From: market-farming-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
> >>> [mailto:market-farming-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of 
> >>> TxBeeFarmer
> >>> Sent: Monday, December 03, 2007 9:45 AM
> >>> To: Market Farming
> >>> Subject: [Market-farming] Mulch
> >>>
> >>> I'd like to try putting down mulch over my garden to reduce weeds 
> and 
> >>> help
> >>> the soil.  It's about 3 acres, but I'm really not sure how to get 
> it 
> >>> done.
> >>> Also not sure how to plant a garden on it.
> >>>
> >>> Let me explain a little about my location, the soil, and how the 
> garden 
> >>> is
> >>> taken care of now.  It's in west Texas with a rainfall of approx. 
> 17
> >>> inches/yr. with very little or no irrigation because the water 
> must be
> >>> hauled in.  The soil is a sandy loam that tends to develop "hard 
> pan" if
> >>> not
> >>>
> >>> plowed.  So, each Winter the stalk residue is shred down and disked
> >>> lightly
> >>> to turn everything under.  In the spring, it's deep disked, then 
> plowed 
> >>> to
> >>> create 36 inches rows.  Planting is done with a 4 row buster 
> planter on
> >>> the
> >>> bed.  Weeds are either hoed or plowed using knives or sweeps.
> >>>
> >>> The only mulches available are large round bales of oats, hay 
> grazer, 
> >>> red
> >>> top cane, alfalfa, or similar.  It's not practical for me to get mulch
> >>> from
> >>> town.  I don't have a dump truck and they don't deliver.
> >>>
> >>> So it looks like hay is my only choice.
> >>> But, how can it be put down and how do you avoid growing a field of
> >>> whatever
> >>>
> >>> kind of hay is put down?  And how do you get it down?  Should I disk
> >>> before
> >>> putting the mulch down?  Should the mulch go down in the Fall or 
> in the
> >>> Spring?  How deep should it be? How can I make rows and plant without
> >>> covering up the mulch?  Should I row it up, put the mulch down, then
> >>> plant?
> >>> As you can see, I'm having trouble understanding how this is done? 
> 
> >>> Seems
> >>> the devil is in the details.
> >>>
> >>> Perhaps I'm looking at this all wrong.  Need some help here folks.
> >>>
> >>> Thanks for your help.
> >>>
> >>> TxBeeFarmer (Mark)
> >>> West Texas Zone 7b
> >>>
> >>> _______________________________________________
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> >>> Market-farming at lists.ibiblio.org
> >>> http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/market-farming
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
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> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>> -- 
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> >>> 12/5/2007 9:29 PM
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>
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> >>
> >>
> >
> >
> > -- 
> > John Hendrickson
> > Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems
> > University of Wisconsin-Madison
> > 1535 Observatory Drive
> > Madison, WI 53706
> > 608-265-3704
> > www.cias.wisc.edu
> >
> > _______________________________________________
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> >
> > 
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