Soil Health

  1. Putting Cover Crops to Work

    Growing vegetables is hard on a place, and it’s important to put something back for all that we take out. One of our responsibilities as growers and gardeners is to be good stewards of the earth that we use. Feeding the soil is an important piece of increasing the health of our fields. One can add compost, but increasing levels...
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  2. A Guide to Planting Spring Cover Crops

    Planting cover crops is a powerful way to improve your soil. Cover crops perform a host of valuable functions like increasing soil organic matter, fixing nitrogen, breaking up compaction, suppressing weeds and preventing erosion. In this guide we'll discuss your options for spring cover crops and the benefits of each, when and how to plant, and how to manage the...
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  3. Integrating Livestock and Crops at Good Heart Farmstead: Sheep, Pigs and Poultry to Increase Soil Health

    Organic farmers know that healthy soil means healthy plants. At Good Heart Farmstead, everything we do is based in the soil. We even named our farm in honor of it—when soil is “in good heart”, it is alive and healthy. But organic farmers will also know that the name itself doesn’t transform depleted, acidic soil into living, healthy soil overnight...
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  4. Disease Prevention in High Tunnel Production

    Organic growers are increasingly choosing to grow year-round in high tunnels, in part to avoid the diseases encountered by field crops. Not only do high tunnels provide physical exclusion from airborne disease, but the environmental conditions necessary for the presence of many disease pathogens simply do not occur in high tunnel production. Of course disease is not eliminated entirely...
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  5. Cover Cropping on the High Mowing Organic Seed Farm

    I first heard the old adage of “no bare ground” while working for Gordon Tooley and Margaret Yancy at Tooley’s Trees in Truchas, New Mexico.  Gordon espouses many philosophies on life and farming.  However, the philosophy of “no bare ground” didn’t completely resonate with me in dry-land New Mexico.  Not long after I started on the Seed Production Farm at...
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  6. Growing Fertility

    Kathy Ciarimboli is a Sales Associate and Special Projects assistant at High Mowing Organic Seeds. She and her husband homestead on several acres in rural Vermont. Before working for High Mowing, she was the farm manager for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) in Palmer, Alaska. When I got the soil test results back in early April, I...
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  7. Weed Control – or Loss of Control – in Mid-Summer

    Becky Maden is the Assistant Farm Manager at Intervale Community Farm (ICF), a thriving member-owned CSA farm in its 21st season of growing organic produce in Burlington, Vermont. Becky has worked on several diverse vegetable farms throughout the country and around the world. At ICF, Becky is either found in the greenhouse, on a tractor, or jogging between the two...
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  8. Fall Soil Amendments

    The second week in September has brought with it a chill reminiscent of October. While most of us are all still busy harvesting and processing the fruits of our labor, now is also the time to begin thinking of fall soil amendments. In the fall, after you have removed plants from the soil is a great time to add nutrients...
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  9. Got Inoculants?

    Got inoculants? If you’re on your second or third succession planting of beans or anticipating a fall planting of peas, it may be important for you to think about using inoculants in your garden or field. Why use inoculants?  Inoculants help to maximize plant growth and yields by increasing the number of naturally occurring Rhizobia bacteria in the soil...
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  10. Incorporating Organic Cover Crops into Your Garden

    Cover cropping and green manuring are good gardening practices for a number of reasons: they improve soil structure and fertility, increase organic matter, loosen compacted soils, reduce weeds, control erosion, and attract pollinating insects.  Although the two terms are often used interchangeably, generally speaking, green manures are tilled into the soil while they are still green and growing, while cover...
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