Note to readers, attached is the complete final report for FNE03-450
The goal of this project was to examine the advantages and disadvantages of direct seeding pumpkins into compost mounds compared to conventional tillage. Compost mounds were placed on land that had been pastured for over twenty years. After placement, the rest of the plot was killed out with Roundup herbicide. Pumpkins were direct seeded into the compost mounds and into a conventionally prepared field.
Results were variable, but in general, there was a higher percent germination in the compost mounds and most varieties produced a slightly higher number of pumpkins per plant when planted in the mounds – although fruit size was smaller. Weed control was a problem in the mounds. Other cucurbits (giant gourds and summer squash) were also planted in both systems and performed better in the conventionally tilled plots. An economic comparison of the variable costs included in both methods showed that the costs are virtually identical for similar size plots. Peter feels that the compost mounds warrant another look as the technique gives a producer an alternative production method for highly erodible fields – fields that they may not otherwise be able to use in their rotation.