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Cover Crop Love Affair

Last week’s rain was a much needed blessing. We’ve been working hard to irrigate the vegetable crops, but nothing beats a natural rain. More importantly, the uniform soaking of the whole farm meant we could finally start planting fall cover crops. When a field is not in active production, wise farmers plant cover crops, such as oats, clover, or rye, rather than let the fields lie bare. Cover crops prevent soil erosion, break up compaction, provide organic matter, and improve a soil’s water holding and draining capacity. Especially important for organic farmers, cover crops prevent weed seeds from germinating. Ten years ago, when I first encountered cover crops, I embraced them as a unique to

Winter Squash Harvest

It’s September, which means it’s time to start harvesting the storage crops planted back in the spring—winter squash, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. Timing the winter squash harvest is can be a challenge. Ideally, we wouldn’t have to harvest them at all. They would ripen in the field, the vines would die back, and we’d leave them to cure in the sun. As they cure, their sugars concentrate and their skins harden, making them both sweet and long lasting. We’d then haul them out as needed. Unfortunately, winter squash are vulnerable to rodents, and this year has been especially bad, given that the drought has made our dutifully watered crops that much more tempting. So we’ve adjusted accordingly,

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