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Crop Yields and Managment – CIG 2019

December 31st, 2019 | Posted by miker in References

Selected Crop Yields and Management – Season One of three year USDA / NOFA Soil Health study of Reduced Tillage

Data below will reflect the Planting dates, Begin and End Harvest Dates and total Crop Yields. The selected crops were Carrots and Napa Cabbage, in Permanent Raised Beds. Also, Summer Squash and Green Beans in Field Beds. The Raised Beds were prepared for planting by mowing, solarization and hand seeding, using a pinpoint seeder. The Field Beds were prepared using our “Favorable Furrow” method, including ripping a single furrow, filling with compost, then lightly rototilling the top 1/2 inch of soil, incorporating some soil into the surface of the compost, to create a uniform surface for planting. No additional fertilizer was added, since the soil test results indicated plenty of fertility, though high pH. The Summer Squash and Green Beans were directly seeding using a jab planter and EarthWay push seeder, respectively.

We used large clear plastic sheets to solarize the Field Beds to be furrowed, before ripping, to kill back pre-existing vegetation. The Field Beds are 200′ long and managing the large sheets of plastic was not easy. After establishing the seeded crop, we lightly harrowed, either side of the crop, twice. The second harrowing, we attempted to establish clover along the edge of the crops, and the untilled pathways, between crops. The season was very wet, then extremely dry and hot, and the ideal scenario did not work out very well. Yields of Summer Squash were low. The first succession of green beans was a crop failure due to flooding, but 2nd and 3rd successions were decent.

General Observations included the following. Late season yields of carrots were the best, with very little damage from Carrot Rust fly in the third and fourth successions. Early season establishment of carrots, without tillage was difficult, as we were relying on solarization to kill existing vegetation, and early in the season the temperatures generated wasn’t enough to kill all the vegetation. Yields from the Field beds were disappointing and poor establishment of cover crops were factors we hope to improve in the second and third years of the Project. One success of the field beds were stale beds, that were prepared as normal, then planted to Barley, as a winter kill cover crop, with untilled pathways of clover between the beds.

See CIG 2019 Photo album in FLickr

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