A Message From The Director
December 3, 2017
Dear Organic Fans:
Welcome to December! I hope this finds you enjoying this cool (finally) Sunday and contemplating the season ahead. I am thinking of the holidays but my mind wanders farther and takes me off to Springtime.
I am wondering about my garlic, my soil and what ways I can treat it even better. Cover crops and how we till have my creative juices going and now, even more so after I attended workshop this past Monday with Ray Archuleta - a former NRCS advisor and a well-known soil fanatic from New Mexico.
Ray's talk was preceded by a fantastic presentation by Brian O'Hara of Tobacco Road Farm and followed by Adam Squire, a newer Connecticut farmer (4+ years) who has discovered new ways to restore and build healthier living soils on his farm. Brian is widely recognized for his no-till organic growing and is gaining a jedi-like sense for feeding his farm soils. Adam is just learning all of this and credits his progress to soil health practices he learned from local NRCS folks (USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service) like Connecticut's own Ray Covino. Ray and his NRCS colleagues including Jim Hyde are keen to help farmers learn better soil management and are learning new tricks all the time. All of these people have been humbled by soil. They realize that soil's realm is far from fully understood and that when we work the soil in the ways it prefers, the soil does amazing things for plant and human health.
One take-away from last Monday's workshop was that something very special starts happening when we turn over the soil less. Low-till. No-till. Call it what you want but it is true that the less we till, the more connected the fungal networks. Better fungal networks improve nutrient sharing and allow for communication among plants. (Yes, plants do talk and share. Science tells us this and it makes perfect sense.)
A second take-away is that when we use cover crops (either after harvest or between growing rows), the soils are better fed. This allows for a greater variety of nutrients to be available for crop growth and to support the crop's immune system. Recent studies now indicate that when we use multi-species cover crops, it creates more soil biomes and the positive effects are amplified.
The last take-away message from Ray Archuleta's presentation was that we have a lot to learn about soil testing. That is a much longer story so I will have to take that up another time. In the meantime, you can look into the Haney Test that Ray recommends. Ray's many presentations can be found on YouTube, should you wish to watch them.
Jeff Cordulack,Executive Director
firstname.lastname@example.org | 203-613-8813
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