We love telling people that we grow our own fertilizer.
To most people this looks like an overgrown mess, but to us it is a life saver. It is one of the crops we grow to put nitrogen back into the soil. It is velvet bean. We sow it after the early maize crop. We harvest the maize and allow this creeping and climbing plant to grow up the maize stalks and cover the soil. It fixes a large quantity of nitrogen, keeps the water from evaporating and keeps the hot sun from killing the micro organisms in the top portion of the soil.
We also use a few other crops with the same function, mainly, sunn hemp and tephrosia.
With our sustainable farming system we are weaning our farmers off artificial fertilizer, saving them money all the while improving the soil and crop yields.
They look like they’re having fun and maybe they are, But they are using a new system of mulching using leaves from the tephrosia tree, devised by Chrissie on the farm.
It has five uses:
- To suppress weeds
- To retain water
- To add organic fertiliser
- To repel or kill pests
- To protect micro-organisms from the sun