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There is growing interest in the use of short-season summer annual legumes or grasses as cover crops and green manures in vegetable production systems. Cover crops can provide a significant source of nitrogen (N) for subsequent crops; reduce erosion, runoff, and potential pollution of surface waters; capture soil N that might otherwise be lost to leaching; add organic matter to the soil; improve soil physical properties; impact insect and disease life cycles; and suppress nematode populations and weed growth. There can be potential drawbacks, such as cooler soils in the spring, and the additional cost of seeding the cover crop. These factors must be considered depending on the particular cash crops and cover crops being grown.
This online publication describes how cover crops affect the soil, how to establish cover crops, and how to manage their residue. It includes a review of the winter and summer cover crops recommended for North Carolina. The authors also discuss the economics of planting cover crops and some concerns to consider when planting cover crops.
Organic farmers cite weed management as their number one research priority. This publication in the Organic Production publication series describes weed control strategies for organic farms based on weed characteristics and an integrated cropping system approach. A special section on cultivation practices that limit emerged and future weeds is based on research by the Center for Environmental Farming Systems.
This guide provides an overview of the community supported agriculture (CSA) program at Research Triangle Institute International (RTI). Filled with ideas, examples, and lessons learned from this workplace CSA pilot project, the guide provides information for farmers, businesses, Extension agents, and others who are considering starting a workplace CSA program.