One of my main missions at The Farmer’s Grove is to build better soil. Personally we grow soil, and the plants grow themselves. Plus it makes us smile on the farm, because we know the food we grow with taste better and have a high nutrition than plants grown in lack luster soil or chemically grown. One way we do this is to grow cover crops, these cover crops are the back bone of our Permaculture systems. Every time we sow the cover crop seeds, we have a choice. We can till, plow, use chemicals. These are not the best option for healthy soil, so we follow the example of Masanobu Fukuoka. In his book The One Straw revolution, he shows how to grow great crops and build soil fertility at the same time. This is not the norm today in industrial agriculture or even most certified large scale organic farms. We sow the seeds of buckwheat, soy beans, millet and corn the old way, by hand. Then we use two telephone poles chained behind a jeep to push over the biomass to the ground. The biomass of clover and vetch mulches and feeds the soil life once we lay it on the ground. This mulch keep the soil and seeds moist. It also nurses the germinating seeds to grow big and strong. Then the mulch will break down and feed the new plants over time. This is the natural way plants grow in nature. This is why we use this method on The Farmer’s Grove.
As a Permaculture principle, this way of farming and nurturing plants, uses less inputs and time on or part. So we can move on to the next project without wasting time and resources. I know this seem too simple to work, but look at nature. No one is plowing, tilling or adding chemical fertilizers to wild plants. These wild plants grow strong and get along with their life without any help from people.