After 8 years of cover cropping in our family almond and walnut orchards in Chico, management is falling into an every-other-row cover crop program in the almonds, specifically for these reasons. For example, I want to minimize compaction with shakers, especially with mummies. I plant my cover crop in one row one year, the shakers take the other, and vice versa the following year. This method minimizes compaction in last year’s shaker rows. Also, we feel the 22-foot rows of our orchard benefit from hedging every other row yearly. Last year’s hedge row is where you want to plant your cover crop for the best light interception to the ground. Thinking ahead and integrating your cover crop into other management areas takes your program to a new level. Principle 3: Pre-pollination and Communicating with Your Beekeeper Principle: Start communicating with your beekeeper well before pollination to ensure that cover crop and pollination have the highest probability of success for the bees and your trees.
A great example of a slim strip of Seeds for Bees’ Pollinator Brassica Mix at almond bloom
If you can, get a pollination contract¹ together, regardless of how small of an operation you have. This will help both you and your beekeeper, and it provides an added sense of intentionality that goes a very long way with how you care for these bees while they are on your property.
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