Once the bulk of the planting is done, and the heat of summer arrives, Ken starts mulching. Some years the weather is such that Ken focuses on planting green manures rather than mulch; most years he does a lot of both. With the season forecast as hot and dry Ken will focus more on mulch this year, He ALWAYS plants some green manures, but it is difficult to get green manures established in heat – they don’t germinate.
Ken’s goal is to keep the soil covered. Covered soil lessens weed pressure, moderates soil temperatures to promote microbial life in the soil, and the microbes break down the mulch to aid in field fertility. Ken frequently states, “Naked soil is dying soil.”
So he cultivates, and with some crops he does weeding on his hands and knees. And then when the area is weed free, he spreads mulch. This year he is using hay from a livestock farmer; the hay was rained on in the field and will not work for animal feed.