Today I mowed the cover crop in the greenhouse and 3 rows in the garden. This was an oat/vetch/pea/bean mix with 8 different species. First I weed wacked it at different heights, then 3 passes with the mower at different heights. The water had been off in the greenhouse for 2 weeks, and the inside temps reached 119F for several days, but I still had surface and deep moisture! And the soil health and aggregation is superb!
This ground is high pH(8.0), with high pH groundwater (8.3) with high sodium levels (detrimental to plant and soil health), and heavy clay soil. Conventional agriculture would say, spray Roundup to kill it, or till it in, and apply sulfur to lower pH and gypsum to break up clay. ‘Maybe’ apply compost. But, we are concerned with soil health, plant health and human health. That means, no tilling (kills soil biology), no spraying (harmful to health), and we found very quickly that sulfur and gypsum weren’t working (excessive sulfur harms biology, and gypsum did nothing but raise total soil salts). The solution? Cover crops! We do apply compost before seeding the cover, and we feed the soil with bio-inoculants, bio-stimulants, and bio-fertilizers. You see for us, we only want things that promote life here (bio), not things promote death (the -cides). Of course, in a holistic system, death is a natural part of life. Dying plants and soil biome promote life to other symbiotic beings. This is what #regenerativeagriculture is all about.
#covercrop #soilbiology #soilhealth #beyondorganic #holisticfamilyfarm #bakersfield