Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Green Manures

For years Ken has been planting green manures.  Green manures are various crops that are planted to keep the soil covered to prevent erosion and moderate soil temperatures to promote microbial life.  Hot dry soil blows away, and the micro organisms in the soil head deeper to cooler soil,  Mulching crops also works, but green manures can add nutrients - like peas fixing nitrogen.  And green manures add root mass that remains organic matter in the soil for years.

Years ago when we participated in a three year farm study for the Center for Integrated Agriculture in Madison, the leader of the study did farm visits.  He was amazed at how little soil is exposed here.

Ken plants many different green manures: rye, peas and oats, buckwheat, clover.  All have their advantages.

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