Final Report for FNE02-433
Note to readers, attached is the complete final report for FNE02-433.
The results of this experiment are reflected much more in the work put into thinking it out than in the results in the ground. It was clear from the beginning that no one cover crop would be the answer. Rather the importance of graphing out the specific needs of each stock plant, matched with the beneficial characteristics of a variety of cover crops would be the answer. These results would then need to be matched with the needs from the bigger picture. Would there be heavy traffic from farm hands or customers? Would this crop in an area visible to customers or in the back competing for visibility? Would the cover crop have a flower than may attract bees and present a safety problem? It is possible to design a rotating system of compost application over the aisles to help build up organic matter for the soils health, followed by application of a green manure to render nutrients more available. This system worked better when the cover crop was annual but could be used in a well established perennial aisle. Having a variety of crops available to use for different maintenance goals worked well. Clover made a nice solid carpet that held the land and worked the soil.