Fast Tracking Soil Organic Matter

Leaf-Windrow
Leaves. We like using un-composted municipal collected leaf mulch to improve soil organic matter. There are different ways to get it done. You can soil incorporate them, and then fallow the field in long rotations. It’s economically challenging. You can surface apply leaves between rows of some standing row crops like potato and pumpkin cash crops. At the end of the season, incorporation of the decomposing leaves improves soil over years. It’s labor intensive. But this is Jersey, where everything has to be done faster and fields have to pay their way. Last fall a grower from South Jersey asked,

Can I speed up the process of increasing my soil organic matter using incorporated un-composted leaves, yet avoid the crop deficiencies that result from nutrient tie-up?

He’s talking about the temporary (one or two seasons) soil carbon:nitrogen ratio imbalance that occurs after adding 10-20 tons/acre of leaves that have a carbon:nitrogen ratio of 50:1 to a production field where the ideal ratio would be 10 or 12:1. What he doesn’t say is that he’s got enough to do as a grower without having to become an on-farm compost manager, too.
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Legislating the Lust for “Local”

New rules are being proposed regarding farm products sold in NJ designated as “local.”
Learn how the proposed rules will affect you and send your comments regarding N.J.A.C. 2:71-10
before July 3, 2015 ~

  • via email: proposedrulesMarkets@ag.state.nj.us,
  • by mail: Al Murray, Director 
Division of Marketing and Development,
    New Jersey Dept of Agriculture, PO Box 330,
 Trenton, NJ 08625

Sherry Marolda, of Marolda Farms in Atlantic County, speaks for many family farmers when she says that rising customer interest in purchasing locally grown crops “is the best thing to happen to us in a long time.” As William Safire put it, “localness challenges cleanliness as being next to godliness… The lust for the local is even competing with organic — food grown or raised without a chemical assist but often transported around the world… ”
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