Video Clip: Weed Em and Reap Part 2. Living Mulch System: Mowing

Organic Agriculture August 30, 2018 Print Friendly and PDF


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: (verified 17 Dec 2008).


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


Helen Atthowe, BioDesign Farm. Stevensville, MT. 

Audio Text

Mowing is one of the major tasks on this farm. It’s important not only for weed management, but also for soil fertility maintenance. The most important weed component is that mowing will diminish any of the annual weeds, because we basically chop them off before they go to seed. In terms of soil fertility, what’s different about this system is that instead of growing a large amount of biomass and then tilling it in or mowing it down all at once, I do it periodically over the season. The reason that is, is we’re trying to mimic a natural prairie system, much like what would be growing around here and is growing around here in terms of the native vegetation. There, we don’t get one mass of organic residue addition all at once that the soil microbes then have to deal with all at once and they feel a little like we do after a big Thanksgiving dinner; a little sluggish and unable to digest it all at once. This way, mimicking a natural system, every three to four weeks, the clover gets to be a foot to two feet, and we often get bloom, and then we mow it down. The microbes have a steady diet to digest over the entire growing season.


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.