Video Clip: Permanent Ground Cover for Wheel Tracks from Vegetable Farmers and their Innovative Cover Cropping Techniques

Organic Agriculture June 15, 2011 Print Friendly and PDF

Source:

Farmers and their Innovative Cover Cropping Techniques [DVD]. V. Grubinger. 2006. University of Vermont Extension. Available for purchase from: http://www.uvm.edu/vtvegandberry/Videos/covercropvideo.html (Verified 31 Dec 2008).

This is a Vegetable Farmers and their Innovative Cover Cropping Techniques video clip.

Featuring

Lou Johns and Robin Ostfeld, Blue Heron Farm. Lodi, NY.

Audio Text

About 10-12 years ago we started converting our fields to what you see now in a permanent bed situation. Primarily because our soils are quite heavy and we stared running into a lot of problems with compaction. So the answer we came up with was to create permanent tire track to carry all the weight of our tractors and all the foot traffic that is very common in vegetable production, you just have constant traffic, so it's been very effective. The tire tracks on the farm may look like nice grass and green growth but for the most part what you’re seeing is a whole host of native grasses, weeds, clovers, you see a lot of dandelion, which may seem like it would become a weed problem in the beds but it doesn’t.

One of the advantages we’re finding and we had kind of hoped for in our permanent tire tracks, is they’re becoming a very viable habitat for beneficial insects, spiders, a lot of people also talk about them being a haven for soil bacteria that might not be staying in a permanently cropped farm soils. Even though it may be anecdotal evidence our use of control sprays for insect pests has dropped to almost nothing over the last, say 10 years. I think that it has a fair amount to do with the amount of habitat we’re creating for beneficials. Within the permanent bed system, we do maintain a fairly rigorous rotation system with our cover crops and our seeded and transplanted vegetable crops, using spring-seeded cover crops, fall-seeded cover crops, sometimes summer-seeded cover crops.

This video project was funded in part by the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (USDA).

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.