Soil thrives best with minimal topsoil disturbance and live cover whenever possible…
No and Low Till
Reduced and no till practices for Fruit Hill Farm consists of several strategies, with the ultimate goal of being no till. Our main goals are to conserve and improve soil quality, and reduce erosion by wind and water. Reducing or eliminating tillage also prevents disturbance of the mycelium network.
The use of light tillage may be needed under certain circumstances such as; compacted soil, weed suppression, cover crop incorporation, or initial site prep. Light tillage is defined as only disturbing the top 1-6 inches of soil. No deep tillage to be used on Fruit Hill Farm property or customer properties.
Fruit Hill Farm uses the goal of 60%-80% soil coverage year around utilizing mulches, cover crops, crop residue, and increased planting density as part of our soil management policy. Keeping the soil covered and protected helps to conserve soil tilth, increase water infiltration, soil microbe biome, and reduce weed/crop competition.
Cover crops and green manure are utilized to help keep soil covered to reduce erosion, increase soil organic matter, reduce weed pressure, and improve soil structure and fertility. These crops can be planted into the garden before or after the vegetable is actively being used for production. Cover crops and green manures can be divided into two categories, warm season and cool season. Warm season is defined as late spring and summer planted crops, and cool season crops are planted in early spring, late summer or early fall.