How Cover Crops Make Healthier Soil

And suck climate-warming greenhouse gases out of the air.


Also read Tom Philpott’s story on no-till, cover-crop farming evangelist David Brandt.

1. After the harvest, the farmer plants a cover crop, which sucks CO2 out of the atmosphere. (Some—like legumes—also enrich the soil with nitrogen.)

 

 

 

 

 

2. The cover crop dies, leaving behind organic matter that makes soil more fertile, keeps weeds from growing, and moderates soil temperature.

 

 

 

 

3. The soil is not tilled before planting cash crops like corn or soybeans so that buried organic matter won’t oxidize CO2, and soil-enriching microbes and worms are preserved.

 

 

 

 

 

4. Over time, cover crops create a layer of carbon-rich topsoil (humus) resistant to both drought and erosion.

 

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Fact:

In-depth journalism that investigates the powerful takes real money and is so damn important right now.But it doesn’t take a Mother Jones investigation to know that billionaires and corporations will never fund the type of reporting (like they do politicians) we do that exists to help bring about change. Instead, our mission-driven journalism is made possible by people power, and has been for 46 years now since our founding as a non-profit.

In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

$400,000 to go!

payment methods

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