I have a question about the no-till roller process in vegetable
production? Do you know of anyone doing it? Do we plant only
seedlings after rolling or seeds? Any help would be great.
Thanks for the email and for the good question pertaining
to vegetable production and rolling cover crops. In theory
you should be able to transplant or direct seed into the system
depending on what you want to plant and what cover crops you
have available to you. For example, we are direct seeding
pumpkins into hairy vetch. You could also direct seed cucumbers
or squash the same way. I would think small-seeded plants
like lettuce or carrots would be much more difficult but not
impossible. If you have an adequate planter like a Monosem
no-till vacuum planter you could get the seeds in the ground,
but getting them up through the mulch of the rolled cover
crop may be tough—never tried it.
Dr. Ron Morse (540) 231-6724 from Virginia Tech has done
quite a bit of no-till veggies into cover crops as has Dr.
Jeff Mitchell at UC-Davis (see the article we ran in 2004
on Dr. Morse's project, Organic
no-till for vegetable production?). Both these folks—and
several farmer cooperators—are no-till transplanting
crops like tomato, eggplant, cabbage, etc., into these systems.
Please feel free to e-mail back with further questions.