Why HappyDay Farms Plants Winter Cover Crops -- November Newsletter :)

Well, no CSA newsletter this week because no CSA.  It's a funny feeling but I'm already building excitement for starting back up in spring.  We've got our system of production down now; realizing that we really do have to hoop and cover anything we want to crop for fall, winter and spring was a huge transition.  At first I was reluctant to spend the time, but we realized that the quantity and quality of what we harvest increases with the provision of simple hoop coverings.  

        We don't cultivate in permanent greenhouses because the inevitable buildup of pests means that we prefer to build quick cold frames that can be constructed or torn down in a day.  We also do a great many low hoop tunnels with hoops made of half inch pvc and a baling wire purlin wrapped around each hoop and secured to a rebar stake at each end of the structure.  We cover with fourteen foot frost blanket that we order from Farm Tek.  We prefer the heavier duty frost blanket (not the heaviest) over the light duty because it is much more durable even though it lets in less light.  

        We've been getting our cover crop and mulch down, along with planting garlic.  Pushing into November we're jazzed to be finished with cannabis harvest and looking towards our winter management plans and land-use practices.  Installing porous check dams to sieve out nutrients and sediment from the ephemeral streams on our land is a simple way that we will give back to nature this winter.  

        We'll watch where water is flowing on our land and work to sink it, slow it, spread it.  We want to keep water from gathering enough speed to dislodge sediment from roads, ditches, trenches, beds, terraces or swales.  Ground cover, water bars, straw, cover crop, these are all management strategies we will deploy in different areas of the farm to sink it, slow it, spread it.  Over the long-term, increasing the water holding ability of our parcel with increased biomass and organic matter in the soil will yield a microclimate that will stay green longer and hold more water than it has been capable of in recent memory.

        Backing it up before logging and ranching, one expects that there was much more water-holding capacity in the land.  It is our stewardship goal to return the land to deep rooted perennials that maintain ground cover, prevent erosion and desertification and support greater diversity of plant and animal species.  

       It always feels good to get the cover crop in and the straw down, like putting the garden to bed with a blanket of investment.  The cover crop will grow luscious, and when we cut it down will provide forage for animals, green waste for compost and root masses for increased organic matter and soil porosity.  It will also cover the soil and sop up leftover nutrients, making it an unbelievable win in all forms of management strategies.  Great success, much love from HappyDay :)

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