Muscatine Island Farm
Growing muskmelon in a more sustainable way involves multiple management practices. Cover crops often are incorporated into the soil before planting the cash crop. However, they also can be “rolled” and used as a ground cover throughout the growing season. The cash crop is planted in small, tilled strips within the residue. This “strip-tillage” technique provides a weed-controlling, moisture-retaining mat that does not need to be removed at the season’s end, as plastic mulch does. The reduction in tillage can improve soil structure and health.
Iowa State University
Tillman, Jennifer L.; Nair, Ajay; Batzer, Jean C.; and Gleason, Mark L., "Strip-tillage and Row Cover Use in Organically and Conventionally Grown Muskmelon" (2014). Iowa State Research Farm Progress Reports. 2020.