With over 40 years of experience growing pumpkins and gourds we decided to strive for something new. Something that could reduce our costs of production, prevent soil erosion, increase soil health, add organic matter, reduce our herbicide use, and above all produce a cleaner, better pumpkin. Sounds challenging yes, but when you know the ins and the outs of the pumpkin patch you start to look for new ways to grow a pumpkin. This year we were recognized for our efforts to produce a better pumpkin when we were awarded with a Regional Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence because of a unique pumpkin growing technique developed right here on our farm!
The process involves growing a rye cover crop in the fall. When the spring pumpkin-planting season arrives, our custom-made roller knocks down the rye prior to seeding. The new approach has slashed labour costs for weeding, prevented soil erosion, increased soil health and reduced our herbicide use. Growing the pumpkins on a thick bed of fallen rye also means less contact with the soil which reduces the need to wash off soil, producing a cleaner jack-o-lantern.
Even this baby fawn appreciates our no-till planter!