A cover crop is a plant that is used primarily to slow erosion, improve soil health, enhance water availability, smother weeds, help control pests and diseases, increase bio diversity and bring a host of other benefits to your farm. Cover crops have also been shown to increase crop yields, break through a plow pan, add organic matter to the soil, improve crop diversity on farms and attract pollinators. There is an increasing body of evidence that growing cover crops increases resilience in the face of erratic and increasingly intensive rainfall, as well as under drought conditions. Cover crops help when it doesn't rain, they help when it rains, and they help when it pours!
Nutrient management refers to both manure and other fertilizers. It helps assure that crops get the right amount of nutrients, such as; nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, at the right time and place. This benefits the farmer by improving crop yields and reducing costs and benefits the environment by keeping nutrients on the fields and preventing them from running off to streams or down to groundwater. Nutrient management planning requires testing both soil and manure to learn what the nutrient content is. All farmers should have a nutrient management plan.
A rain garden is a depressed area in the landscape that collects rain water from a roof, driveway or street and allows it to soak into the ground. Planted with grasses and flowering perennials, rain gardens can be a cost effective and beautiful way to reduce runoff from your property. Rain gardens can also help filter out pollutants in runoff and provide food and shelter for butterflies, song birds and other wildlife.