Organic No-Till Cover Cropping 5: Weed 'Em and Reap Part 2

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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).

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.