[Market-farming] Tillage is tillage

Tradingpost tradingpost at lobo.net
Wed Feb 7 17:12:14 EST 2007


There's some good advice there. This is the part that caught my eye:

>when I leave a mowed cover crop in 
>the field at planting, I'll need to cultivate about three weeks later 
>for weed control. There are a lot of people working on this, and there 
>may well be a way around it other than cultivation or herbicide; though 
>an alternative that worked in some operations might not in others. 

I also doubt anyone has a complete answer, but we do know that every time
we till or cultivate we bring up another crop of weed seeds to germinate.
We know live cover crops or cash crops that shade the soil can suppress
weeds. And of course on a smaller scale additional mulch serves the same
purpose. If these things don't work on a larger scale, or we're allergic to
weeding, then one might think a larger scale is not a good idea.

paul tradingpost at lobo.net


*********** REPLY SEPARATOR  ***********

On 2/7/2007 at 4:24 PM road's end farm wrote:

>If I had known, the first year that I tried planting into a killed rye 
>and vetch cover crop, that others had had a large surge of vigorous 
>weeds coming up through that mowed mulch about three weeks later, I 
>would have either tried this on a smaller scale or would have planned 
>things differently. (I did have the sense to try it with only half the 
>field, and so lost only half the crop.) The report I had read, however, 
>(on the tomato trials in New Jersey some years ago), had not mentioned 
>this growth of weeds, and had also not mentioned the herbicide that the 
>people who wrote the report had used to control it, instead just 
>repeating that the mowed rye and vetch formed a "heavy, 
>weed-suppressant mulch". (I was able to talk to one of them directly at 
>a NOFA conference a couple of years after that, and confirmed that 
>herbicides had been used at that point and for that reason.)
>
>I have learned from that experience, three things: for one, to try on a 
>smaller scale first; for two, to check multiple sources of information 
>when available; and for three, that when I leave a mowed cover crop in 
>the field at planting, I'll need to cultivate about three weeks later 
>for weed control. There are a lot of people working on this, and there 
>may well be a way around it other than cultivation or herbicide; though 
>an alternative that worked in some operations might not in others. In 
>the meantime, anyone contemplating planting into a killed mulch is 
>likely to find it useful to know what has not worked for others; while 
>that person might be the one to solve the problem, they're more likely 
>to do so, not less, if they know in advance that the problem might 
>occur.
>
>-- Rivka; Finger Lakes NY, Zone 5 mostly
>Fresh-market organic produce, small scale






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