Friday, April 25, 2014

Innovation In Growing: Using Ground Covers To Get Results In Agriculture

Cover crop radishes store valuable nitrogen help build the soil.
Innovation on how we grow plants improve production, decrease production costs and help save our environment. Sustainability efforts in agriculture have been focusing on finding ways to help the soil live up to the demand of production, farming expects. Simply adding man made fertilizers and herbicides can inflict some undesirable affects on the environment as well as being extremely expensive. In recent years in agriculture, orchards and in residential environments more friendly innovative practices are proving effective options to the man made chemicals.

The farmers effort to get more nitrogen into the soil for their crops are planting a fall crop of several different nitrogen producing plants either plow into or allow to rot into the soil for enhanced affects to the soil for the spring. Plants planted are: Cover crop radishes, Cover crop turnips, Austrian winter peas, together with wheat or alfalfa - cover mixtures. This helps build up the soil and build the nitrogen for the following crop year. Corn and Soybeans the cash crop giants of modern day farming suck up a great amount of nitrogen from the soil. Read more: Cover crops a benefit for farmers. Click here.

Adding red clover around the trees builds soil for the trees, but also provide homes for helpful mites!
The cherry orchards effort, however similar to the farmers efforts are finding not only are they finding nitrogen and soil buildup, but if the use a clover it provides a home for helpful mites that can provide an option to the orchard owner to cut back on herbicides used to get rid of pests detrimental to healthy fruit. They have to be careful not to use varieties that wont steal too much water and cause smaller cherries. Moisture availability will have to be considered. Unlike annual plants used by farmers the orchards are perennials and the cover is grown along side the producing tree. Read more at: Red clover helps red cherries in a study. Click here.

Residential effort is to include similar steps of the farmer, however they used different plants for ornamental reasons and insect controls. Read more at: City slickers find benefits too! Click here.

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