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

Theodore James Radovich theodore at hawaii.edu
Thu Nov 15 11:51:01 EST 2007


We've done some intercropping work with cowpea. I'll be curious to hear how your trial turns out. The only two caveats I can think of are:
1) Light competition- Sounds like you can mitigate potential nutrient and water competition issues, but some cowpea varieties are pretty aggressive viners that may crawl over some of your crops depending on the crop, timing, spacing etc. You may want to try multiple cowpea varieties, including semi-bush and bush types.
2) Traffic- I don't know how much traffic (foot or otherwise) the beans would be able to take, especially early on. If there isn't much traffic in the inter-row space, then this shouldn't be an issue.

Ted Radovich

----- Original Message -----
From: Glen Eco Farm <glenecofarm at planetcomm.net>
Date: Wednesday, November 14, 2007 4:43 pm
Subject: [Market-farming] Managing ground between plastic mulch rows (was	Rotor Tiller)
To: Market Farming <market-farming at lists.ibiblio.org>

> 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.
>  a.. Spread corn gluten meal to suppress weeds (didn't work)
>  b.. 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)
>  c.. Let the weeds grow (you can get away with it but it is an 
> ugly mess I wouldn't recommend)
>  d.. 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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