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.