[Market-farming] Managing ground between plastic mulch rows (was Rotor Tiller)

David Inglis mhcsa at verizon.net
Wed Nov 14 23:19:13 EST 2007


Spring sown Grain Rye + vetch works well and is inexpensive. The Rye will
not form seed heads [because it hasn't been vernalized] and as it chokes
itself out the vetch comes on. It works well 2 out of three years for me and
is better than the alternatives even in the other year. 


Western Mass.




While some of you are discussing equipment to till space between plastic
mulched rows I want to share some of my efforts manage this space:  Even if
I have the right equipment I can only do limited tillage between the rows
anyway because some of my plastic mulched crops are vine crops like squash
and cucurbits that want to run into this space.

*	Spread corn gluten meal to suppress weeds (didn't work)
*	Mulched with spoiled hay (works somewhat but is labor intensive and
I have to push it off on to someone else because of my need to be careful
with mold exposures)
*	Let the weeds grow (you can get away with it but it is an ugly mess
I wouldn't recommend)
*	Sow crimson clover after laying the mulch (Clover came up ok but
fizzled out with the arivval of hot weather and drought.  Then came the
grass and weeds.)

Next year I'm thinking of planting something that will grow more
aggressively in hot weather, make a thicker ground cover, feed nitrogen to
the soil, and yield some crop to those who want them--cowpeas.  What do some
of you think?  Will it work?  Has anyone tried it?  I'm not concerned about
crop compitition for water and nutrients because I have drip irrigation
under the plastic, the plastic keeps competing plants far enough away from
the crop and I am prepared to foliar feed if necessary.


Marlin Burkholder

Virginia zone 6

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