Cover Cropping and Strip Tillage to Improve Crop Performance and Food Safety in Muskmelon Production
There is a growing interest among growers to utilize production techniques that reduce soil erosion, minimize nutrient leaching, suppress weed emergence, and build soil quality and organic matter. Cover crops are now being widely used by both conventional and organic growers to accomplish these tasks and also to maintain high soil fertility. Cover crops have a profound impact on soil quality by adding to the soil organic matter pool, enhancing soil structure and fertility, improving soil water holding capacity, reducing the loss of nutrients and sediments in surface run-off, and suppressing weed populations. Additional beneﬁts from cover crops include reduction of insect and disease spread, enhanced microbiological attack of soil pathogens, increase in soil microbial biomass, and biological activity.