Each season Ken makes a decision whether to mulch or not. If he decides not to mulch he plants a green manure crop. When it is hot or dry and the green manure won’t sprout, it’s a good time to mulch.
Both mulch and green manures cover bare areas. They retain moisture in times of drought. They moderate the soil temperature to promote microbial life in the soil. The weed germination and pressure on the crops is reduced. They add organic matter and nutrients to the soil. They reduce or prevent erosion.
This year Ken got some straw, and tried running it through the manure spreader to fluff it up. He liked how that worked. It saved his having to shake it out – wear and tear on shoulders and elbows.
Before he mulches he cultivates and weeds each crop. Here is the wheel hoe and his hay fork.