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Ray is in charge of planting cover crops at Blue Skies Farm. Here he is standing in a field of red clover that he planted in the spring and turned over so the clover would be green fertilizer in the soil. Other cover crops that Ray plants include buckwheat (our honey bees love it!), white clover (bees love this too!), rye and rye grass and oats. Why use cover crops? A cover crop is a plant that is grown primarily to slow erosion, improve soil health, enhance water availability, suppress weeds, control pests, increase biodiversity and bring a lot of other benefits to the farm. Cover crops (also called “green manure”) may be the hardest-working plants we’ve ever grown! We have seen the fertility of the soil improve and micronutrients including earthworms increase because Ray plants a succession of cover crops throughout the seasons.
Ray and Bernadine (Bernie) Prince are first generation farmers at Blue Skies Farm in Sussex County, Delaware. Ray is an environmental economist who has become a sustainable farmer! Bernie is a founder of a nonprofit farmers market organization where she also created a FoodPrints nutrition education program to teach children about growing, preparing and eating fresh, seasonal foods. This dynamic duo is farming on their 10-acre Blue Skies Farm using organic practices which can be very challenging when insects are devouring the plants they plan to sell at the farmers market!
Bernadine (Bernie) Prince is standing in one of her flower gardens. She spends most of her time every day tending to her acre garden of herbs, flowers and vegetables that are all grown in raised beds. She has improved the quality of her garden soil by using organic mushroom compost. She uses straw mulch to conserve water, add organic matter and keep the weeds at bay! Bernie and Ray are also beekeepers who are committed to have these pollinators on their farm and growing flowering trees (tulip poplars), ornamental and native flowering plants and cover crops (buckwheat and white clover) that the bees get pollen from.