If you’ve visited the farm in the past few months, whether to volunteer or go on one of our monthly farm tour wagon rides, you’ve likely seen a tall plant that looks a bit like corn. This plant is actually a cover crop called Sorghum Sudangrass. Cover cropping is a sustainable agricultural practice that involves planting specific crops in between periods of crop cultivation. Cover crops are not meant to harvested, sold, or eaten. Instead, they are grown to cover and enhance the soil between periods of growing the crops that we do intend to sell and eat.
These cover crops serve a multitude of purposes, primarily aimed at improving soil health. One of the key benefits of cover cropping is soil erosion prevention. The dense root systems and canopy cover of these plants act as a natural barrier against wind and water erosion, protecting valuable topsoil from being washed away or blown away by wind. Additionally, cover crops play a vital role in enhancing soil fertility. Different cover crop species can be selected to add nutrients and organic matter to the soil. Cover cropping also helps to suppress weed growth by outcompeting undesirable plants.
For the past few years, our farm team has worked hard to improve the soil health here at the farm and cover cropping has been an essential tool. Improving soil health is a long process, but we’re already seeing great improvements in yield and quality of some of our produce, like our bell peppers this past season! As we continue to improve soil health, we’ll be able to grow a greater diversity of produce and bring even better quality produce to our customers.