RANCHO SOQUEL FARMING PRACTICES
At Rancho Soquel, we implement regenerative, organic methods that will help us heal and transform this land. We are a CCOF Organic Certified farm, but we dig our growing practices much deeper than just organic.
Soil and land regeneration
“Farming is mining.” This understanding is at the core of all Rancho Soquel operations. Season after season, decade after decade, farming takes from the land—and doesn’t typically give back. Hungry crops and normal farming practices suck up nutrients and minerals, erode soil structure, and decimate soil microorganisms.
Our regenerative methods will:
- Increase soil organic matter without the addition of huge amounts of compost.
- Boost overall productivity. No unnatural fertilizers needed.
- Naturally discourage pests and diseases.
- Attract native, beneficial insects and pollinators.
- Restore the biodiversity of our local ecosystem.
- Grow incredible, nutrient-rich food for you.
We nourish our plants with specific concoctions of minerals and natural nutrients through foliar feeding: the nutrient solution is sprayed directly onto the plant’s leaves.
These applications increase plants’ photosynthetic rate, so they exude even more energy into the soil. These “exudates” (secreted substances) are food for soil microbiology, the real regenerative agriculture heroes! Soil microbes not only bolster the land’s organic matter, they also sequester carbon. It’s a win-win-win for plants, our soil, and the whole planet.
Zero Pesticides—Natural Pest & Disease Control
Farming without pesticides means we’re hyper-observant about what’s happening of the fields. We ask questions like: what is causing said pest or disease to attack this crop or that crop? How have our management decisions contributed to pest and disease attacks? What environment gave rise to this weed or that pest?
Natural pest control is a combination of every other action on the farm; when plants are hardy and healthy, they tend to protect themselves better. To help them along, we use native insectaries (plants that attract beneficial insects) and hedgerows for pollinator habitats.
Sap analysis is the most cutting-edge tool used in agriculture to manage crop fertility. We can assess the quantity of each nutrient and mineral within a plant to know how to care for the crop more appropriately. While we’re not unique in the use of sap analysis, it’s uncommon for farmers to measure their potential fertility needs, instead of guessing and applying fertility in that manner.
Soil and Water Chemistry Testing
Knowing exactly what’s in our soil and water gives us even more information to inform crop management and help our understanding of soil dynamics and soil-water dynamics which may be impacting crop health. Mineral balancing will increase nutrient density and plant health.
We plan to measure the nutrient density of our produce and strive for the highest quality according to existing data.
A biological assay of the soil will help us quantify soil microorganisms and look at the relationship between organisms.