Strip-tillage and Row Cover Use in Organically and Conventionally Grown Summer Squash

Sustainable production of summer squash involves multiple management practices. Some cover crops can be “rolled” when mature to produce a ground-covering mat. The cash crop is then planted in tilled strips made in the residue. This “strip-tillage” technique provides a weed-controlling, moisture-retaining mat that is biodegradable, unlike plastic mulches. The reduction in tillage can improve soil health. Row covers provide a favorable microclimate and act as a physical barrier to pests when placed over young transplants. This can help plants grow more rapidly and reduce diseases spread by insects early in the season, such as yellow vine decline and bacterial wilt. This report focuses on the second-year results of a two-year, multi-state effort to determine the effects of strip-tillage and row covers on squash production.