A weekly blog for all things conservation
By: Kevin Brown, Agricultural Resource Specialist, Bradford County Conservation District
If you have, or intend to, plant cover crops, please read this column. We all hear the benefits touted about cover crops- less erosion, having a living plant in the ground at all times, alleviating compaction, retaining nutrients for the next crop, giving food and shelter to microbes in the soil, and so on. It is a great list and will do some miraculous things to the soil. Try it on a limited basis, if you haven’t already. Then get a shovel out and really look at what happened. There are some benefits that definitely go with cover crops. However, there are some things you should know beforehand that really can affect how those cover crops grow. We have two years under our belt now with our highboy planter. It has been a couple really wet years, so they haven’t been the best, but we have learned some interesting things that I think need to be shared. They are things that I have NOT heard in any other cover crop presentation. It’s like, “plant them and life will be good”. Well, not here. We have really struggled to get some good crops growing, but with the lessons learned, I think that will change.
By: Kevin Brown, Ag. Resource Specialist
Every year at this time, we have a Soil Health Conference at the Wysox Fire Hall. It is THE place to be if you want to really be on the cutting edge of what is going on in soil health (Gardeners are welcome too. It is all the same soil). We talk about it all year long, but this is IT! This IS the place to be. If you don’t believe me, look at past presenters- Gabe Brown, Dave Brandt, Ray Archuleta, Russ Wilson, and the list goes on. Look for them on our web page, we have recorded some of the past presentations. Look for them on YouTube. They are the pioneers of this movement and we have had them right here in our own backyard. And, even though they are nationally renowned, we have had them here for only a $15 or $20 admission charge. This year’s group is leading the way and they are doing things that most people have never heard of, and making it work. They are doing things that outsiders would think just aren’t possible. Yet, not only are they doing it, they are getting more yield with less inputs. It is a win for everyone concerned (their wallet, our nutrition, the environment, etc.). This year’s talent will be every bit as good as past years. Maybe better.
By: Nathan Dewing, Agricultural Team Leader, Bradford County Conservation District
You heard correctly – it is time to start your garden. This week at the Stoll Natural Resource Center, we started our 2020 no-till demonstration garden. It may be new thinking, but we suggest you think of October as the beginning of your gardening season (November is not too late). A few simple steps now can keep your garden soil working for you all winter. Read further for a step by step preparation guide. 2019 produced an excellent demonstration garden, with very little effort as we have reported. Forty people attended the September Open Garden evening with lots of great questions and information sharing. A big “thank you” to Chris and Jeanette Smith from Warren Township for mentoring the gathered gardeners.
By: Kevin Brown, Ag. Resource Specialist
Yes, that is what I said, a garden that takes no work. This is a picture of our garden here at the office. I mulched it, planted it, spent maybe 15 minutes (total) weeding it at different times, and am now harvesting it. I know there are a lot of non-believers out there. My wife said it wouldn’t work. My co-workers said it wouldn’t work and wanted to know who was going to be the one spending the time needed to weed and water it. My response was, “if it works the way it is supposed to, no one”. Even my mother said that when she read the first gardening article, I put out there, “I couldn’t believe your name was associated with it. You never wanted anything to do with a garden”. And she is right, I still don’t. But Voilà ! Here we are. I can handle a garden if I don’t have to do anything to make it a garden. Doesn’t everyone like to have super fresh vegetables if all they have to do is go pick them? Well, you can.
Various staff at the Bradford County Conservation District