Date of Award

11-2009

Degree Name

MS in Agriculture - Crop Science

Department

Horticulture and Crop Science

Advisor

John Phillips

Abstract

Tillage increases erosion rates and diminishes the quality of soils but has traditionally been a way to manage weeds and prepare a seedbed. No-till vegetable production can ameliorate the ill-effects of tillage in an economically effective way but has not been studied much in California. The objective of this thesis was to determine the viability of no-till vegetable cropping on the Central Coast of California. Tomatoes were grown in no-till and conventionally tilled treatments. Total yield, fruit weight, weed emergence, soil bulk density, soil aggregate stability, and soil organic carbon content were measured and compared. Yields and soil tests in both treatments were similar while weed emergence in the tilled plots was significantly higher than in no-till plots. The results may help vegetable producers determine how to make vegetable production on the Central Coast more sustainable.

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