Tag: Cover Crops

Using Green Manures

by Eric Sideman, PhDMOFGA’s Organic Crop Specialist Emeritus Introduction There is no such thing as the “best green manure”. A grower has to decide what is the most important benefit to their farm system of growing green manures and what is the window of opportunity that they have to take cropland out of production. This

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Grassland Improvement for Gardeners

Grassland – which can include many more species than grasses – is one way nature builds soils. English photo By Will Bonsall The only people who need to care about grasslands are those who keep livestock, right? Wrong! Anyone who cares about sustainable, self-reliant soil maintenance, whether on many acres or in a postage-stamp-sized backyard

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Building the Mycorrhizal Connection

Toki Oshima illustration By C.J. Walke As spring rolls into summer, we should see young, month-old fruitlets on our trees, slowly swelling with growth in the sunlight of our longest days of the year. Nutrition for that growth is centered in the soil, where we look to build a biologically active ecosystem for soil microbes

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Soil Health Soil Testing and Soil Amending

Rebirth of a Movement By Will Brinton, Ph.D. A renewed national interest in soil health and soil biology is creating an alternative to the long-held chemistry-based mineral theory of soil fertility still dominant today. For about 175 years, soil has been viewed largely as a physical support medium for plants to which mineral nutrients must

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Tillage Trials

By Ben Hoffman Minimal tillage is essential for healthy, productive soils. In a seven-year study at the University of Western Australia, total organic carbon in the top 4 inches of soil increased by 1.7 tons/acre with no-till and 1 ton under conservation tillage but decreased by 0.2 tons under rotary tillage. (“Tillage, microbial biomass and

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Buckwheat

The author’s mother in a field of buckwheat at the author’s grandfather’s farm in Canaan in the early 1900s. Photo courtesy of Joyce White Buckwheat grown as an alley crop in a young orchard at MOFGA’s Common Ground Education Center. English photo By Joyce White When a neighbor extolled the health benefits of buckwheat, I

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Spring Growth

David Rocque. English photo MOFGA’s 2016 Spring Growth Conference addressed soils, with experts from the state of Maine, from two state universities and from three MOFGA-certified organic farms. David Rocque, Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry soil scientist, defined “soils,” talked about soil-forming factors – especially parent materials – and about identifying soil types

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Growing Organic Strawberries

By Eric Sideman, Ph.D. I always have fresh cream at home from mid-June until mid-August. Berries are good with milk or yogurt, or plain, but they are best with cream. And the best berry? The one that is in season! For people who do not farm or garden, that season can be hard to determine,

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Garden Tips

My source of water is city water, which can be expensive if watering a large garden. I have a sump pit in my basement, so I set up a rain barrel and attached a sump hose from the pit outlet pipe to the rain barrel through an opening I cut in the rain barrel cover.

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Green Manures and Cover Crops

A strip of buckwheat growing at MOFGA’s Common Ground Education Center. English photo. By Will Bonsall The terms “green manure,” “cover crop,” “soiling crop” and “catch crop” are often used interchangeably, which is not quite accurate, but for this article I’m lumping them all together. I refer to any crop that is planted not for

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