Does tarping between succession plantings reduce the amount of tillage and labour required for organic salad production?

Farmer: Brent Preston and Gillian Flies

Farm: The New Farm

Region: Central

Publish Date: February 6, 2018

Article Type: Research Project

Research Priorities: Soil Health 

With the goal of regenerative farming, Brent and Gillian want to minimize tillage for their organic salad greens production. To do this, they trialed tarps to kill residue between succession plantings and recorded the management needed to direct seed. They also tracked labour, including time moving and placing tarps and hand weeding.

Key Findings

  • Tarping soil, without tilling before tarping, reduced tillage by 82% and resulted in faster growing crops.
  • It also reduced total labour 60% for lettuce and spinach crops because of fewer weeds.
  • It increased total labour by 65% for mustard greens, which do not require weeding.