Video Clip: Weed Em and Reap Part 2. High Residue Reduced-Till System: Winter-Killed Cover Crops Part 2

Organic Agriculture March 25, 2009 Print Friendly and PDF

Source:

Weed 'Em and Reap Part 2: Reduced tillage strategies for vegetable cropping systems [DVD]. A. Stone. 2006. Oregon State University Dept. of Horticulture. Corvallis, Oregon. Available at: http://www.weedemandreap.org (verified 17 Dec 2008).



 

This is a Weed 'Em and Reap Part 2 video clip.

Featuring

Mark Schonbeck. Virginia Association for Biological Farming. Floyd, VA. 

Audio Text

Mow-killing or roll-killing requires a fairly precise time, you have to wait until the crop has bloomed, but hasn’t set mature seed. Whereas these crops, we don’t care if they’re vegetative or if they’re flowering, or if you can roll them or not. The old man winter is going to do it. And we have two strategies. One is to plant a really tender, fast-growing, tropical, heat-loving crop in the middle of the summer, and at the first hint of frost, it’s dead.

Semi-hardy Cover Crops

Another strategy is at the end of summer, plant crops that are semi-hardy, things like black oats and purple vetch. These two cover crops will fairly reliably frost-kill at twenty degrees. One of the things that has happened is that farmers in Virginia and some of the warmer climates and even as far north as Kentucky, have observed that when they plant oats as a winter-kill crop, that some of it will come through and be growing in the spring when they wanted a dead mulch. These two are just a little bit less frost hardy than the spring oats and the Lana vetch, which have been our standard cool-season semi-hardy crop. We’re going to look at them in comparison and see if these are more reliable about forming a dead mulch.

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.