How to Get Microbes Working for You:
Use our Living Mulch Cover Crop Kit!
Late summer/early fall is a great time to take stock of your season and begin to implement changes that will improve your gardens next spring. Chances are by this time in the season you have some spots in your growing space that are looking a little bare. Whether it’s that bed where you pulled out the summer garlic or the planter that housed your tomatoes, it’s important to have a plan in place for regenerating the soil after a long season of hard work.
While some crops can still be planted this late in the season (things like lettuce or frost-hardy kale), another option is to seed a Living Mulch Cover Crop. Cover crops are a key tool in regenerative agriculture that serve a number of purposes, ultimately creating a thriving soil ecosystem that replicates processes created by Mother Nature herself.
Here are three great reasons to use our Living Mulch Cover Crop Kit this fall:
1. Suppress Weed Growth to Make Next Season Easier
Mother Nature hates to be naked, which is why weeds move into bare soil so quickly, as this is a defence mechanism that protects the soil from environmental factors.
As regenerative growers, letting weeds grow at the end of the season can be a real struggle because we don’t have a lot of good options to manage them once they have established themselves. Unlike conventional chemical agriculture, we wouldn’t dare spray herbicides to kill them, nor do we want to rip them out because of the damage this does to the soil.
Using our Living Mulch Cover Crop Kit in the fall on any bare soil you have is a great way to beat out the weeds and save yourself a lot of headache next season. Oats and peas are a fast growing crop that can outcompete weeds before they have a chance to take a hold. Unlike weeds however, the oats and peas will be killed by a hard frost over the winter, saving you time and labour next spring.
2. Replenish Soil Organic Matter
Another key benefit of our Living Mulch Cover Crop Kit is that, when planted in the late summer/early fall, the oats and peas will germinate and grow until the first hard frost. During this time they will produce leafy biomass above and root biomass below ground. Once the frost and snow comes, this carbon-based biomass will slowly be incorporated into the soil over the winter months. The key here is the addition of our Jocelyn’s Soil Booster Worm Manure during the seeding stage ensures that plenty of microbial life is ready and waiting to decompose this material into the soil.
The result is that next spring, the soil organic matter has increased, improving nutrient levels and the ability for soil to hold water and oxygen. In doing so, the cover crop has pulled carbon dioxide out of the air and stored it in the soil, which helps in the fight against climate change! The end result is that whatever you plant in that space next season is going to have a higher quality soil in which to grow.
3. Improve Nutrient Levels
Peas (along with other legumes) are a special type of plant that helps plants access nitrogen, an important macro-nutrient. Pea roots collaborate with mycorrhizal fungi in the soil to convert nitrogen from its commonly available format of ammonia to the plant-available format of nitrate. The result is higher levels of nitrogen in the soil. This is especially good if you grow any nitrogen-loving crops like corn, tomatoes, beets and cabbage-family crops.
The microbial life in the Jocelyn’s Soil Booster Worm Manure will work with the Oats to help access nutrients that are locked up in the mineral component of soil. The Oats will feed the microorganisms, who in turn will unlock nutrients to feed the Oats. Together it becomes a positive feedback cycle that creates a healthier, more robust ecosystem for any future crops planted in that space.
Our Living Mulch Cover Crop Kit breaks down this regenerative growing method into guided steps for an effortless application by any grower. Each Kit is suitable for up to 100 sqft of growing space and includes 135g of Oats and Peas seed mix, one 800g of Worm Manure and an instruction card to make the process easy and straightforward.