Green manure (cover crop) flowers remind us it’s spring.

It’s that time of year when the cover crop begins to bloom!

Manure. It can be animal-made and it can be plant-made.

Here at Bele Casel, we adopt an approach to farming that’s very similar to biodynamic practices. Even though we don’t use the so-called “preparations” that biodynamic farmers use, we like them work to invigorate the “life” in our soil. To make it come to life with biodiversity, including all kinds of animals and micro-organisms that help to replenish its nitrogen and ability to support life. Just like our biodynamic counterparts, our soils are farmed 100 percent organically, without the use of any chemicals or pesticides whatsoever. Like our biodynamic counterparts, one of the ways we gauge the health of our soil is by how many earthworms we find when we stick our hands into the earth. The more there are, the healthier the soil. The more the merrier!

Another thing we do that is very similar to the approach that our biodynamic counterparts take is that we plant a so-called “cover crop” each fall after harvest. These include kinds of legumes typically and different types of wild flowers and plants that are believed to help in replenishing nitrogen levels and the soil’s general health.

Depending on the vintage, we will mow the cover crops at a certain point and let the organic material become a sort of “green manure.”

Those flowers in the photo above reminded us that our cover crop and green maure is coming in nicely!

The very presence of the plants helps to enhance the health of the soils and the growing site in general. Then, the green manure will help the health even more by adding even more biodiversity to the soil and encouraging the development of micro-organisms.

It’s all part of an overall approach to make healthier soils and better crop — without the use of chemicals.

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