Spring Seedbed Characteristics after Winterkilled Cover Crops
Weil, Raymond R
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Tillage is the common practice for seedbed preparation prior to early spring vegetables. To investigate the possibility of eliminating the need for spring tillage through the use of cover crops, spring seedbed characteristics after winterkilled cover crops forage radish (Raphanus sativus L.) and oat (Avena sativa L.) were monitored prior to and during growth of no-till and rototilled plantings of spinach (Spinacia oleracea var. Tyee) over four site years in Maryland's Coastal Plain and Piedmont regions. Results indicate that forage radish can facilitate no-till planting of spring vegetables in the mid-Atlantic without herbicides or fertilizer. Forage radish increases soil nitrate and sulfate in early spring and is best suited as a cover crop before the earliest planted main crops.