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Beyond dead dirt: healthy soil is alive

This post is modified from an article originally published in The Delmarva Farmer (2/13/2018) Most people would probably be surprised to know that bacterial cells outnumber human cells in our bodies by 10-to-1 and that just one teaspoon of healthy…

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World Soil Day – and a reminder to cover your soil

Today is World Soil Day as declared by the United Nations General Assembly. So I hope you’ve spent some time thinking about how vital good soil is to our gardens, our agriculture, and our planet. Soil rocks! Also, soil… humuses. Um….

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Here grow the cover crops

I love seeing the early April greening of my fall-planted cover crops. I’m happy knowing that the rye, crimson clover, and hairy vetch plants (about 8-inches high right now) perform multiple functions: add organic matter, nitrogen fixation, improve soil structure,…

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Cover Crop Comparison

I took some photos a few weeks ago of  cover crops I planted mid-September. Barley is a cereal grass that is less winter-hardy than cereal rye but usually survives Central MD winter weather. Not this year. And oats are more…

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Cover crop seeds hold firm in 5+ inches of rain

 I planted barley, oat, and rye seed on October 6 for fall/winter cover crops. It was good to know that rain was expected the following week but I may have postponed my cover crop plans if I knew it would…

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Crimson clover and barley cover crops

I like growing cover crops to improve and protect garden soil. Dealing with a winter cover crop that has resumed vigorous spring growth can be a challenge. Here’s a bed of barley (planted mid-September) that I covered in mid-April with…

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Tiller radish = improved soil

Ray Weil, a professor and soil scientist at UM, and his graduate students study and promote tiller radish as a fall cover crop for farmers and gardeners. Here’s a photo of tiller radish (a.ka. forage radish or Daikon radish) interplanted…

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