Soil health is a key tenet in organic agriculture. Without healthy soils production and ecosystem diversity suffer. Many organic vegetable farming techniques require intensive tillage for initial bed preparation in order for the myriad mechanical weed control techniques to be effective. The downside is obvious, soil health suffers due to intensive plowing and tillage. While steps have been taken to incorporate no-till methods from organic row-cropping systems into vegetable systems, these methods are often only usable in highly competitive crops with wide spacing and relatively low value. Our goal is to utilize a combination of tractor mounted tools (deep shank, and power harrow), which have hand tool analogues (broad fork), to prepare high rotation vegetable beds of higher value crops (lettuce, beets, carrots, and other leafy greens) compared to using a rototiller for bed preparation.
Project objectives from proposal:
Hypothesis 1: There will be a significant difference in total organic matter, soil compaction, and/or meso-fauna diversity between treatments.
Hypothesis 2: Final levels of total organic matter, soil compaction, and/or meso-fanua diversity will be significantly different than at the start of the experiment.