a secret at all. It involves imitating nature. The web work of soil involves a network of plants that feed and protect the soil. This microcosm or micro environment goes down a few inches below
the soil. There is a vast diversity of species small and microscopic that occupy this area along roots and capillary structures. It breathes and releases gases and oxygen valuable to plant growth.
There are also many life forms that exist a few inches above the soil. This is where two worlds meet. It is very dynamic and fragile.
If plants are the cover and sometimes the scar tissue of the earth than this is one of the most intense living environments on the earth. If allowed to flourish it resembles a jungle like environment. To enhance this is the best way to enrich the land. There is a multitude of species that only exist in this intense microcosm. When the earth interacts with the atmosphere life thrives in abundance. Fertility is the marriage of the confluent interaction of these life forces. This dynamic exchange of moisture and oxygen enhances this interaction and protects it. A lush garden starts at the surface of the soil. Cover crop helps create this and so does intensive planting techniques. leaving plants to grow on bare land does not encourage this rich environment.. Cover crops offer an opportunity to give back to the soil. It is an investment toward future crops. If planted in the fall as summer and fall crops are on their way out, it protects the soil while providing this rich web work of life. I use a combination of vetch, rye and clover. Other combinations work well in other zones. Giving back and encouraging soil biology is what regenerative practices are all about. This is covered more extensively in my book, Radical Regenerative Gardening and Farming.