Wanaka Lavender Farm is on an ongoing journey to look after the farm, soil and animals as well as we can. Always exploring, learning and trying out better methods of doing so.
This year, we took inspiration from our friends Tim & Camilla Rutherford who farm locally using regenerative practices, having great outcomes and a bright future for their land. We did this by implementing "Regenerative Cover Crops".
Cover cropping is a method of planting vegetation for the purpose of protecting the soil. By having a variety of plants in one area (as opposed to only having grass), it is possible to manage soil erosion, improve water retention, increase soil fertility, manage weeds and diseases, as well as increase bio-diversity.
Following the advice of Symbiosis Agriculture, we acquired a mix of 21 different types of seeds to direct drill into a selection of our paddocks where our farm animals live. Using a direct drill machine to plant seeds ensures minimal disruption to the soil, and has many other benefits.
Some of the species found in our first crop are Quinoa, Anise, Rocket, Calendula, Wild Bergamot, Spinach, Chia, Radish, Borage, Sunflowers, Peas, Oats among others. Even we thought this sounded delicious, so we were sure our farm animals were going to love it.
The result of our first cover crop is an amazing mix of food and flowers for our animals, bees and bugs above ground. Whilst at the same time, improving the health of our soil below the surface.
Next time we will be looking at planting a winter mix and then a mix of perennials that become more of a permanent pasture for the paddocks.
We will keep you up to date on how that goes in the coming seasons!