Tag: Cover Crops

Reduction of Plastic in the Whole Farm System

By Holli Cederholm Organic agriculture has a plastic problem. The problem is, said vegetable producer Lincoln Fishman, plastic is useful. Drip tape for irrigation, bread trays for harvest, and perforated bags and woven plastic feed sacks are all “beautiful inventions,” he told a room of growers during a session on plastic reduction at MOFGA’s Farmer

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Northeast Fellows Trial On-Farm Adaptations to Climate Change

By Holli Cederholm In the past several years, farmers in Maine have struggled to cope with drought, severe precipitation events, excessive wind, temperature extremes and hail storms. Across the world, farmers are on the frontlines of volatile weather caused by climate change. From vegetable and small fruit producers to dairy farmers and forest managers, climate

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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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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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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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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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