Biomass and Nutrient Content Cover crop biomass samples were taken just before plowing (conventional tilled plots) or before killing with pesticides (chemical treatment) or flail chopping (organic treatment) for the conservation tillage treatments. Plant samples were ground, analyzed for nutrient content, and nutrient uptake estimated by multiplying percent of nutrient by total biomass.
Tomato Growth and Fruit Yield
Tomato growth in the various tillage and pest control systems produced consistent results as previous years. Tomato vine growth was measured midseason (Table 2). Biomass was greatest in the conventional black plastic/fumigated treatment, with statistically similar biomass weights in the conventional organic and strip-till chemical treatments. The strip-till organic and control treatments produced lower vine weights at this preharvest time. Root growth was similar among the treatments. Green fruit counts for the entire plant indicated greater numbers in the chemical treatments. Tomato vine weights at final harvest produced similar growth habits as midseason, with the two chemical treatments and the conventional organic system with similar statistical weights, and the control and strip-till organic treatments with lower weights (Table 3). Roots had similar weights for all treatments.