We enrich our soil in the off-season by planting cover crops in our orchards, such as oats, barley, clover, and vetch. These crops sink their roots into the soil, adding more nutrients, holding water, and preventing dry soil from blowing away.
The floor of our orchard is home to intentionally planted cover crops and wild grasses, plants that fix nitrogen in the soil, and whose roots support microbial life and healthy soil structure. Cover crops and wild grasses throughout the orchard contribute to building soil organic matter - the living things in the soil. In the same way humans need shelter to survive, soil also needs protection from the elements to survive and thrive. As the name suggests, cover crops keep the soil blanketed to prevent erosion of soil and protect its structure which is damaged through wind and tillage. Healthy soil is porous with greater water holding capacity and the ability to capture nutrients ensuring those precious resources are stored and then delivered to our trees when they need it.