Living Laboratories Initiative: Advancing Reduced Tillage for Organic Vegetable Systems

Farmer: Ken Laing

Farm: Orchard Hill Farm

Region: West

Publish Date: May 25, 2023

Article Type: Research Project

Research Priorities: Cover Crops 

To innovate systems that reduce tillage and keep the soil covered using cover crops for organic vegetable production in southern Ontario, Ken Laing tested 60+ combinations of crops and ground cover over three years.

In a Nutshell

The most promising systems that emerged from his investigations included:

  • Garlic no-till planted in the fall into a mown cover crop of sorghum sudangrass
  • Potatoes no-till planted into winter rye, which is mown before potato emergence
  • Winter squash no-till planted into hairy vetch or deep compost mulch
  • Field tomatoes planted into winter rye and hairy vetch; with more trials needed to confirm