Southern SARE Grantee-Produced Info Product
Cover Cropping: On-Farm, Solar-Powered Soil Building
Sustainable farmers and gardeners know that the soil needs to be “fed” regularly in order to continue yielding good crops. Organic matter (carbon-based materials derived from living organisms) and nitrogen (N) are especially subject to depletion from intensive production, and must be replenished annually. There are two ways to accomplish this. One way is to haul compost, aged manure, mulch hay and other nutrient-rich organic materials into the field and spread them. That can run into a lot of labor and/or fuel costs. This Virginia Association for Biological Farming information sheet provides an introduction to the other way—sowing cover crops and letting them produce the organic matter and N in place, using solar energy!
Want more information? See the related SARE grant(s) LS03-149, Enhancing Sustainability of Organic Broccoli Production through Integration of No-Tillage and Farmscaping, and ES06-085, Sustainable Organic No-Till Systems: A Training Program for CES and NRCS Field Professionals.
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These products were developed with support from the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture-National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA). Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed within these products do not necessarily reflect the view of the SARE program or the U.S. Department of Agriculture. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.