Soil testing: your Extension Office can test soil for little cost, but little detail.
Midwestern Bio-Ag does a complete soil analysis report, showing percentage of organic material, level of micronutrients, etc. 608 437-4994
Visual soil analysis
Observe what plants are growing—let the weeds speak to you!
Color, texture, taste all contribute to understanding your soil.
How it feels
What it grows
What helps the soil
Creating bulk compost
Growing Power compost on asphalt
Compost warms greenhouses
Benefits of cover crops
Cover crop options
Do you need to add biomass, or suppress weeds?
Do you need to fix nitrogen, or break up clay soil?
No matter your scale of food production, cover crops will improve your site. Naked soil does not.
Organic cover crop seeds available at The Feed Barn, West Chester.
Use of buckwheat
For a summer green manure, till in after blossoms have been enjoyed by the bees. For grain, sow 3 months before fall frost, harvest after killing frost and let decompose during the winter. Till in during the spring.
Use of hairy vetch—prevent weeds in squash beds
Use of winter radishes
Use of winter wheat
Use of rye
Winter mix—rye, hairy vetch, crimson clover
Green manure mix for fall
This can often include winter rye, oats, clover, field peas, and hairy vetch. The peas, oats and clover die at frost, providing biomass and soil cover. The hairy vetch and winter rye regrow in the spring to provide nutrients for new crops.