Mon, 27 June 2022
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By Franklin Egan, PASA
This is the second article in a series on soil health challenges and innovations revealed through case studies that are part of the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture’s ongoing Soil Health Benchmark Study, a citizen-science project begun in Pennsylvania in 2016. Read the first installment on the GFM or PASA website.
In 2013, Cameron and Audrey Pedersen relocated Bending Bridge Farm to twelve acres of land they purchased near Chambersburg, PA. Given their new land had been in continuous conventional corn production for decades, the soil was in dire shape. The first spring working that ground they could not even get a chisel plow to break the surface because the soil was so compacted and crusted.
Cameron and Audrey knew they needed to develop and implement a comprehensive plan to regenerate the health of their soil, and they wanted this plan to adhere to organic methods. As part of their strategy, they have been practicing a diverse crop rotation that includes long windows for over-winter and summer cover crops. Because of this, Cameron and Audrey keep their land in living cover for 248 days of the year—making Bending Bridge a leader in cover cropping among the other 23 vegetable farms participating in PASA’s Soil Health Benchmark Study.
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