Increase soil fertility by clipping vegetation

6th October, 2020
Regenerative gardening activity 1. clipping

Regenerative agriculture is about building soil. Whereas conventional agriculture and farming is based on a model which uses soil up, or degrades it, and this is accepted in agricultural lore. This necessitated the ancient practice of letting fields lie fallow to 'recover' from agricultural activity. On the other hand, regenerative gardening increases soil fertility the more you garden.

You do not need a farm to do regenerative agriculture. You can adapt it to the gardening scale, and rebuild soil on a tiny plot in the city.

In the city in a small garden we can't graze cows to help grow soil organisms, so I am replacing what the cows give.

This piece of garden had a forty species cover crop sown a few months ago. After a period of neglect the vegetation became lush and wild looking. Two days ago I started moving in with a cutter and cutting the grass back semi long. Basically I was removing the wild seed heads for the hot composter, and leaving the food grasses like wheat and oats.

The clipping is enough to stimulate the grass to grow and photosynthesize but it is not so short that the roots die back so much that the plant eventually dies. The photosynthetic activity causes sugars to be leaked into the ground and feed microorganisms, the essence of regeneration. I imitate the grazing of the cows with the clipping.

It may look like a mess to people stuck in the groove of conventional (and usually soil degrading) neat gardening, but there is more plan and more work in it than people think. It leaves me with a feeling of fullness and satisfaction, and the garden has become a very special regenerative place.

Don't worry... its going to grow food. But first I want to grow some really good soil !

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