As a certified organic farm, we have to work very hard at Rainshadow to keep our soil and plants happy and healthy. We use the practice of intercropping, planting a mix of species together, to promote a healthy soil community. Different microorganisms are attracted to different species of plants and each relationship between the plant and its microorganism contributes to the microbiome of the soil. The diverse community of microorganism helps us create maximum resilience to weeds, pests, and fungus and promoting the nutrient cycles of the soil itself.
Micro-organisms contribute The diversity of species in an intercropped bed aids the soil on a microscopic level by helping us
We use intercropping in all the different parts of the farm. The pictures surrounding this text are examples of intercropping around the farm.
Upper left photo: intercropped broccoli and bean section in the 25-acre. The broccoli has just started producing but will be finished long before the shelling beans planted within the row are finished. After the broccoli is pulled, the beans will continue bushing out and grow into the dried beans we sell in the store.
Top right photo: clover & wheat in the 25-acre. We planted clover and the wheat together this year. The clover is growing in the understory of the wheat and, after we harvest the wheat, the clover will take a lot less water to revive than planting it from seed. The clover crop helps us replenish the nitrogen in the soil after the wheat crop has used its fill.
Bottom left photo: nasturtiums & beans in the hoop houses. The nasturtiums are keeping the weeds at bay by growing throughout the understory of the pole beans and taking up any open space.
Bottom right photo: 26 species cover crop in the 25 acre. This cover crop is full of 26 different species of plants that help replenish nutrients in the soil, block weeds out by their presence, and produce natural fungicides to promote soil health.