DIY





Covering Ground with the Three Sisters


| 2/26/2018 10:59:00 AM



Chalise, Majhuwa, Nepal by Pema Lama Wikimedia Commons 

Topsoil is eroding nationally at a furious rate, one third of arable land worldwide is desertified and more joining it daily...We gardeners can create regenerative mini ecosystems wherever we garden, helping to restore topsoil and healthy nutrient cycling, reduce irrigation, sequester carbon, and provide food for birds, bees, and other beneficials on land we tend. And in so doing, we can also feed ourselves fabulously.

A great place to start is covering the soil with the Three Sisters companion plant community and cousins. We can help ensure its success.

Why Keep the Soil Covered?

Especially in dry or otherwise challenged areas, keeping the soil covered moderates extremes of microbe-killing, water-sucking cold, heat,and drought. It breaks the force of raindrops, allowing them to percolate into the soil rather than smash its surface. It protects the soil from wind as well as water erosion. It keeps earthworms in the dark, just how they like it. It also helps keep unwanted weeds to a minimum.

Covered soil retains water better. Leaf drop, litter, and mulch contribute organic matter to the soil when it breaks down, starting immediately on the soil surface. “Each 1 percent increase in soil organic matter can result in as much as 25,000 gallons more soil water per acre.



Why cover the ground with plant communities like the Three Sisters rather than just single-species rows?



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