Cover cropping is a very important part of cultivating healthy soil for growing healthy produce. This area of land is where we grew all of our produce last year and we are now rebuilding this soil for next years planting. Our cover crop mixture is 71% Peas, 15% Oats and 14% vetch. The oats are the trellising for the pea’s and they also will store phosphorus from the soil. The vetch will smoother the peas and oats to produce up to 8000 lbs. of green manure to be tilled back into the ground in addition to the nitrogen fixation that the pea’s, and vetch will be doing.
Obtaining nitrogen from cover cropping is a sustainable and balanced way to add nitrogen to the soil, while feeding microbial life and adding humus, which is the organic material that is a product of the decomposition of the peas, oats and vetch. The humus also helps to absorbs water when it rains so that you do not have erosion problems and during drought it holds water for longer periods of time in the soil.
Clover is planted between the grapes to help pull some of the 45 tons of nitrogen from the air to the ground to help feed the grapes…..it also is yummy to add to carrot juice and aids in the health of our blood…healthy for soil and for our bodies…what a coincidence.
Gerhard is visiting us from South Africa for 3 months and will be helping us with our grapes this season. Many of our CSA members may remember when Larry and I were in South Africa last year in March to learn sea water agriculture from Gerhard. Before farming hydroponically Gerhard owned a vineyard that was his fathers. He has many years of experience with grapes and we are so grateful to have his help this year.
Here the interns are working hard to plant lettuce and the brassica family before it rains again. We have been blessed with several windows of opportunity to plant between the rainy days…..and we give God all the glory for these opportunities. After all it is His garden!