Green Manure

Cover Crops

Cover cropping is the most important strategy for generating fertility onsite without any external inputs.

Cover crops are plants that are grown specifically to cover and protect the soil, rather than for their edible or ornamental value. Using a diverse blend of cover crops we increase soil fertility by building biomass, but more important by having living roots that produce root exudates we feed microizal fungi and microbes which combine minerals and carbon to create soil aggregates

Perhaps the most important part of building soil is understanding how plant roots interact with soil biology. Plants produce root exudates which feed specific fungi and bacteria. These fungi and bacteria like the tasty exudates (sugars) and offer up minerals or important nutrients such as nitrogen in exchange. This extends the reach of plant roots and allows them to radically improve their health. It also creates soil aggregates which is vital for the structure of soil.

One of the main roles of cover crops is to build fertility onsite. Cover crops can add nutrients to the soil through their roots and aboveground biomass, which can then be incorporated into the soil when the cover crops are turned under. This can help to improve soil structure, increase water retention, and promote the growth of healthy plants.

Using cover crops can also help to build fertility without using any “ghost acres,” or land that is dedicated to producing a single crop. Cover crops can be grown in between regular crops, or in areas that would otherwise be left fallow. This allows farmers to maximize the use of their land and build fertility without dedicating additional resources or land to the process.

There are many different types of cover crops to choose from, each with its own unique benefits. Some common cover crops include legumes (such as clover and beans), grasses (such as oats and rye), and brassicas (such as mustard and kale).

Overall, cover crops play a vital role in sustainable agriculture by helping to build fertility onsite and improve soil health. They are a valuable tool for farmers and gardeners looking to create a healthy and productive ecosystem.

Other Stuff We’re Doing

Check out some other stuff we’ve been working on.

    Hugelkultur is essentially a large amount of logs, branches and other woody debris covered in compost, soil. The wood inside acts like a sponge, holding a tremendous amount of water and also providing copious food for fungi.

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    We generate a lot of woody biomass from branches which we burn in pits to make charcoal. We then inoculate this charcoal to make a soil amendment that can last for over 1000 years in our soil.

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