Before planting strawberries, we let the soil rest for two years. During that time, we plant cover crops and graze the land with sheep. In this photo, the sheep are grazing annual rye. The rye roots go down deep, injecting air and nutrients into the soil. As the sheep graze, their hooves are activating microbiological activity in the rhizosphere, which is the area around the roots of the plants. In addition, as the sheep tear off the rye tops, the rye is encouraged to push its’ roots down deeper, increasing and enriching the rhizosphere.
As soon as the sheep have grazed the area down to a few centimeters, Dan will move them to a new crop block and allow this rye to grow back. Depending on how much rain we get, this area will be grazed 2-3 times, then get plowed under and a new type of cover crop, either oats or sorghum/sudan will be planted. The process will repeat. The sheep are getting fed top quality food, and our soil is naturally stimulated and enriched.