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Soil Preparation: Cover Crops, Worm Castings, and More!

Further Reading


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4 comments

  • Ellen Emmanuel Mar 19, 2021

    I sowed some organic winter wheat berries in the beds last fall. It is growing well, almost too well, since it is coming back as a weed with the peas. Oh well. I am going to cut the rest and mix it with homemade compost and shredded leaves as a mulch when it gets warmer (I learned not to mulch until the soil is really warm). But I have to say, I have never seen so many earthworms as now, I suspect it is from them eating the roots of the wheat.


  • Bill Taylor Mar 18, 2021

    Most fertilizers make plants lazy by not inviting in the microbes. Always having plants growing, no bare soil, is the best “fertilizer” because the plants will feed microbes mostly sugars from photosynthesis but other things as well, and then consume as well as feed bacteria and they and other soil life actually bring to them the minerals they need from the soil. While most soils have enough minerals for the microbes to obtain for themselves and the plants, there can be mineral deficiencies. There are so many types of soil tests, whetber for immediately available nutrients or total minerals (the ones the microbes and fungi are needed to obtain). AGAT labs in Canada or Midwest can do the latter types of tests. Best to read up on it. You can just buy fertilizer and get instant results, but the lazy plants won’t necessarily get the micronutrients they need to fend off pests and disease. Increasing organic matter (hence cover crops, mulch and compost) will get the microbes to unlock the less easily obtained micronutrients as well as macronutrients that are not soluble. Plants can even consume larger molecules which is why the microbes are important, more so than simple ions that chemical approaches to agriculture have misled us into thinking is the main deal.


  • Emily Cenatiempo Mar 17, 2021

    The cover crop mix I planted last year is growing like crazy now that the weather is warming up. The peas, vetch and radish overwintered nicely and are just starting are taking off.

    I’m planning on cutting my cover crop instead of tilling, and and slightly worried the grass in the mix will get established and never go away. I’ve cut some of it once and it seems to be growing back quickly.

    I am happy with the results so far. I planted the mix in terrible dry cracked soil and it had no problems growing. My soil isn’t “perfect” yet but I feel it’s much better off than it was last year.


  • Don Mesibov Mar 17, 2021

    What would you recommend as the best fertilizers for vegetable gardens? for flower gardens? for flowering shrubs?


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