Chapter 20

Soil Managment for Vegetable Crops

(book excerpts)

Vegetable production follows an annual cropping system where planting and harvest takes place within one calendar year. While production of vegetables occurs year-round with areas of production shifting with the growing seasons, most vegetable crops are planted late-spring to early-summer and harvested throughout the year. Vegetable cropping systems are intensive and often include practices that disturb soil such as primary tillage, incorporation of fertilizers and herbicides, laying of plastic mulch, cultivation to manage weeds, hilling, and harvest. Activities that disturb soil affect soil organic matter and ultimately, the overall health and well-being of soil. That being said, it is not practical to completely eliminate these practices as they are important and critical in many ways to establish and maintain high yielding and high-quality vegetable crops. However, soil health can be maintained if not improved by adopting a number of sustainable soil management practices such as crop rotation, cover cropping, use of compost or manure, and conservation tillage.

Click on the following topics for more information on soil managment for vegetable crops.

Topics Within This Chapter:

  • Vegetable Crop Rotations
  • Crop Rotation Considerations
  • Rotating Vegetables by Family
  • Vegetable Crop Compatibility
  • Crop Rotations on Organic Farms
  • Cover Crops in Vegetable Production
  • Benefits of Cover Crops
  • Cover Crop Selection for Vegetable Growers
  • Single Species vs. Mixture Cover Crops
  • Crop Rotation with Cover Crops
  • Cover Crop-Vegetable Rotation Practices
  • Strip-Cropping with Cover Crops
  • Interplanting with Cover Crops
  • Seasonal Cover Crops for Vegetables
  • Winter-Fallow Cover Crops
  • Spring-Fallow Cover Crops
  • Summer-Fallow Cover Crops
  • Full-Year Fallow Cover Crops
  • Management of Cover Crops
  • Optimum Planting Dates
  • Field Preparation
  • Cover Crop Termination
  • Termination Timing
  • Using Manure and Compost for Vegetable Crops
  • Manure
  • Food Safety Considerations
  • Compost
  • Composted vs. Raw Manure
  • Conservation Tillage with Vegetable Production
  • No-Till Vegetable Production
  • Strip-Till Vegetable Production
  • Strip-Till with Cover Crops