This week for my creative experiment I designed seed packaging labels. I am surrounded by fields of crops and read the article USE SOIL HEALTH TO FEED YOUR NEIGHBORS in Successful Farming and I loved the idea of growing a cover crop that would also provide food to be donated. Green Cover Seed, based in Nebraska, created a Milpa Garden Mix which includes seeds that produce fresh vegetables such as squash, pumpkins and cucumbers. They will donate up to 1 acre of seed to those who plant it and promise to donate the food produced to a local food bank or shelter—so cool! My dad seemed interested in trying to plant it for next year.
Three Sisters mix, a Native American agriculture concept where corn, beans and squash are planted together in mounds, as they help each other thrive. The corn grows tall for the beans to climb, the beans provide nitrogen to the soil and the squash leaves shade the ground which maintains the moisture.
According to USDA cover crops in agriculture are planted for erosion control, improving soil structure, moisture, and nutrient content, increasing beneficial soil biota, suppressing weeds, providing habitat for beneficial predatory insects, facilitating crop pollinators, providing wildlife habitat, and as forage for farm animals.