Our homestead first started producing a sustenance crop about a decade ago. At first, it was a struggle. Kentucky seems to have two type of land: Two inches of top soil and then clay or two inches of top soil and then rocks. Because our initial plan was to use rocks for various construction projects, of course we bought property with two inches of top soil and then clay. Today, much of our main field is soft rich soil.
Wanting to stay as organic as possible, each spring we would start weeding the rows and then mulching with grass clippings to help keep the weeds down. The next spring, we would turn the rows over, plant and repeat the process. Today, we have raised rows in the areas we have committed to peppers. Peppers are not particularly fond of too much water. So when it rains, the soil holds what it can and passes on what it cant off the raised areas.
Until recently, I did not consider the grass clippings to be related to a strange phenomena in the main field. We seem to have an unusual volume of box turtle and toads. From reading about permaculture and alternative agriculture, it is now my understanding that mulching with grass clippings provides an environment that both turtles and toads absolutely love. By night, the toads start foraging. They are particularly fond of slugs. By day, the turtles take over and eat almost any insect they can get their tongue on.
Although we are not overrun with either of these critters, it is not at all uncommon to go out to weed and find a turtle inching his way along on any day of the week. It seems good for pest control and certainly is for the heart. About the only draw back is that I have to keep the front lawn mowed very close to discourage migration into that area and to prevent accidental lawn mower strikes which can easily kill one of our guests.
Thank you one and all who visit the online store and continue to make my kids life this beautiful.