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Magic cover crop carpet?

 
duane hennon
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things are becoming mainstream

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170301142610.htm

Magic cover crop carpet?

American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA)
Summary:
Organic farmers can use a combination of cover crops and no-till methods to improve soil health, suppress weeds, and retain moisture, suggests a new report.
 
Travis Johnson
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It is pretty mainstream for conventional farmers as well.

One big shot in the arm though has come from taxpayers; farm subsidies are targeting cover crops right now (just as they did in the 1980's) so its a common practice. This is all good stuff.
 
Joe DiMeglio
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Thanks for the link. It's encouraging to see stuff like cover cropping being mentioned in the mainstream. I noticed that they are referring to large mono crop farming and mono-species cover crops as well. They also talk about "organic farmers" doing MORE tillage than Chem-Ag farmers, but any truly organic farmer is going to know that tillage destroys the soil and not go that route.

Take a look at some of Gabe Brown and Elaine Ingham's videos and you'll see that the key is diversity in both your cover crops and main crops. Unfortunately, the mainstream Ag industry is still thinking in the old paradigm and locked into that mental box. A true Magic Carpet is a diverse one with multiple growth levels, successions and functions. Using a seed drill to pant is the best way to go for sowing most crops into a cover crop, not furrowing or harrowing. (from my perspective, anyway)

Here's a classic from Gabe Brown -

  

And a classic by Elaine Ingham

  

Enjoy!
 
Erik Krieg
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They also talk about "organic farmers" doing MORE tillage than Chem-Ag farmers, but any truly organic farmer is going to know that tillage destroys the soil and not go that route. 


On large scale monocrop you either shallow till for weeds or you spray chemical.  Shallow till is what most organic farmers use as it is far better than poisons.

A lot of the principles of heavy mulching, lasagna gardening etc for weed control just aren't scalable to large organic farms.  Imagine the mulch it would take to cover a 50-200acre field. 
 
Joe DiMeglio
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Hey Erik, 

  Regarding mulch on a large scale - This is why you want to do cover cropping - like Nature does. It acts as living mulch and as "soil armor". If you let the crop debris lay where it falls after harvest, you have additional mulch which will degrade within a month or so, if your soil biology is healthy. This returns the nutrients used to grow it back to the soil, just like nature does in a healthy ecosystem. With a super diverse cover crop seed mix, you will always have some species covering your land, no matter what climate changes you have. Check out this video by Elaine Ingham - she lays it out really quickly in this one. Of course, there is much more detail to what she's talking about, but this is a very succinct version that gives a good overview.



  I would also recommend Elaine's "the roots of your profits" video and any other lectures of hers that you can find on Vimeo and YouTube, as well as her free mini course on soilfoodweb.com.  Also check out Gabe Brown and Greg Judy's talks - They're all advocating the same thing from slightly different angles. The principles of putting the soil first and how to do that are the same though. You'll find that Joel Salatin, geoff lawton and others are talking about the same process. Who knew that soil science could be so exciting?  The soil is as dynamic an ecosystem as a tropical reef once you get into studying it.

Thanks soil scientists, permies and farmers who've pioneered these ideas, we actually have the tools to reverse the damage that Totalitarian Agriculture has done over the last 10,000 years...and the humble compost pile is the nexus of that change, because it's the analog of the forest floor where decay happens and soil is created.  It's all about mimicking Mother Nature in the end, so why reinvent the wheel that's been around for 4.5 billion years? That's the Fool's Errand that the Big Ag corps want to sell us.       
 
Francis Graf
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Here are some good videos Ive bookmarked on this topic. 





 
Nicole Alderman
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Joe DiMeglio wrote:Thanks for the link. It's encouraging to see stuff like cover cropping being mentioned in the mainstream. I noticed that they are referring to large mono crop farming and mono-species cover crops as well. They also talk about "organic farmers" doing MORE tillage than Chem-Ag farmers, but any truly organic farmer is going to know that tillage destroys the soil and not go that route.

Take a look at some of Gabe Brown and Elaine Ingham's videos and you'll see that the key is diversity in both your cover crops and main crops. Unfortunately, the mainstream Ag industry is still thinking in the old paradigm and locked into that mental box. A true Magic Carpet is a diverse one with multiple growth levels, successions and functions. Using a seed drill to pant is the best way to go for sowing most crops into a cover crop, not furrowing or harrowing. (from my perspective, anyway)

Here's a classic from Gabe Brown -

  

And a classic by Elaine Ingham

  

Enjoy!



The video of Elaine is eye-opening and fascinating! I'm only an hour into it, because I keep having to pause to take notes. Thank you for sharing it! I hope to be able to watch all the videos you posted, as this one is just amazing. Thank you again!

For those wondering if they should spend 1.5 hours watching it. YES! So far she's covered how plants release "exudates" that feed soil bacteria and fungus, who then use acids to break down nutrients from soils (sand/silt/rock/etc). The soils, by the way, ALL have all the nutrients in them that a plant could need for hundreds of years (tested soils around the world), but they are in insoluble forms. Soil tests only test for soluble nutrients. The bacteria and fungus convert those to soluble forms. When they get eaten by protozoa/microarthropods/nematodes, those nutrients are released right next to the plants roots. Not only that, around the root structure, the PH can be entirely different than elsewhere, such as a ph of 7.5 around alfalfa's roots in a soil with a ph of 11. My mind is blown, and I still have more to listen to!
 
Joe DiMeglio
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Thank you Nicole, I'm glad you're enjoying the videos. They are very much worth your time to watch and totally mind blowing. Soil is the Base Resource of all life on Earth. The complexity of the soil is akin to a coral reef and just as fascinating to me. Some of Elaine's lectures are 2 hours long and even at that, are not giving you the whole picture. If I can spend 2-3 hrs each watching the "director's cut" Lord of The Rings trilogy, I can surely justify watching 8-10 hours of Elaine and other soil scientist's lectures.  Jill Clapperton is another soil scientist with some great lectures out there. And don't forget Elaine's free micro soil foodweb course at soilfoodweb.com.  You even get a certificate when done.

Here's one on how bacteria communicate with biochemistry, just like our brains do, that is also mind blowing - and only 18 minutes long.  

  


Thanks for the pie too! Make mine Mud Pie. (with mulch sprinkles?)     
 
Just put the cards in their christmas stocking and PRESTO! They get it now! It's like you're the harry potter of permaculture. richsoil.com/cards
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