In the December 2018 issue of the Vegetable growers magazine, there is an article titled “It’s all about water quality for Ward’s Berry Farm“. In the article, the author talks about how the USDA NRCS has worked with Jim Ward on his farm to improve soil health and how NRCS can help farmers access their farm to better manage soil health. Cover crops are used on the Ward farm to build soil health. As a water person, I like the following statement made in the article and fully agree with the statement… “By redus=cing tillage and growing cover crops, farmers will see benefits such as improved water holding capacity of their soils and better drought resistance. The living roots and the above-ground biomass of cover crops conserve a lot of water and contribute significant quantities of carbon (the food source) for beneficial bacteria and fungi in the soil.” In addition to this, the article discusses how improving soil health helps protect water quality.
Conservation tillage is one way to increase soil organic matter, improve soil health and as a result improve water resource management on a farm. This article discusses the practices on farms, but the same concepts of covering the soil in home gardens and flower beds can improve water holding capacity and save water resources.