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Hemp Soil Enrichment from Cover Crops

Our fields on the Butternut Hill are hosting the majority of our crops this season. We purchased this property three years ago and have been building soil through cover cropping ever since. This is the first year of production. The lower field is classic river bottom for around here, flat and sandy. The upper field is undulating and would have erosion issues if the whole thing was plowed. We seeded white clover last year. White clover is an amazing little plant, it’s a long lived perennial that withstands traffic, fixes atmospheric nitrogen, attracts an amazing amount of earthworms in the soil, and hosts all sorts of beneficial insects with its flowers. By tilling only the planted strips and leaving the tire tracks in clover we greatly reduce erosion and are literally fertilizing a little bit every time we mow.

A typical planting pattern is shown in the first photo; the amber tall grain in the front is some rye that was seeded last fall and the lighter green in the back is oats. A little buckwheat is spattered around for good measure. Underneath it all, little red clover plants are hanging out in the shade. The clover is slow growing and the grains grow faster so they help out compete weeds and keep the soil surface moist. By fall it will be a blanket of clover fixing atmospheric nitrogen and building organic matter for future crops.

Super psyched on how the white clover strip till is working out. The hemp looks fantastic and the white clover is just buzzing with insect activity. Lace wings, ladybugs, all sorts of little wasps and tons of bees.

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