[Market-farming] Rye cover crop; was Mulch

Bill Shoemaker wshoemak at inil.com
Fri Dec 7 08:48:09 EST 2007


Thanks John. I'll look into it.

Bill


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "JOHN A HENDRICKSON" <jhendric at wisc.edu>
To: "Market Farming" <market-farming at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Friday, December 07, 2007 7:44 AM
Subject: Re: [Market-farming] Rye cover crop; was Mulch


> 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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>> >>> Version: 7.5.503 / Virus Database: 269.16.15/1173 - Release Date:
>> >>> 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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