Organic No-Till Pumpkin Production: Weed 'Em and Reap Part 2


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).


Ron Morse. Virginia Tech. Blacksburg, VA.

Audio Text

Let me show you why pumpkins are becoming so popular in a no-till system. This is a young pumpkin that’s been set a week or two weeks. And notice that it‘s sitting on this mat of straw. As this thing matures, this mat of straw will stay there of course, and by the time this pumpkin is ready to sell, the quality then will be superior compared to one that is laying on the bare soil. This is a distinct advantage, and a driving force, for no-till pumpkins in the United States.

You always want to make sure you have a very good, uniform, high-density planting of cover crops. Normally, I use rye or rye/vetch, but I was extremely busy and so I didn’t have a field prepared. This year we produced oats and field peas. The amount of residue was three tons per acre. Normally I get up to four or five tons of rye or rye/vetch.

I have cut a section of residues out to show you the depth. Now remember this is oats and field peas and we only had 3 tons. But still you can see a nice, maybe ½” depth of residue. If this were rye or rye/vetch, there’s a possibility it would be almost double that and often times it is up to an inch and that gives you real good weed suppression and fruit quality.

An advantage of the enhanced amount of biomass or resides is that you get improved weed control. If you look in this field here, you’ll see the understory does have a few weeds, but because of the quick canopy closure of the pumpkin, we will still get excellent weed control and all of the weeds that emerge later, they won’t reduce yields.

In this field, the spring oats and field peas, and in some areas of the field we also have Austrian winter peas, were seeded the first week in April. Then grew about four to five feet high. We rolled them approximately the 10th of June. We then waited about three weeks and in the first part of July, we seeded with the Monosem seeder. This is late however; we normally would have seeded earlier. With rye, it tends to mature a little bit faster and so we can get in the field and seed around the middle of June. With oats, it took a while for them to mature, so we have to wait awhile. We plant in two-row systems. As you can see, we probably have a real good crop here, a real good stand.

Organic High Residue Reduced-Till Pumpkin Production: Weed Em and Reap