Time has flown by since our Black Friday Fundraising round in November last year. It’s about time we gave you an update on how things are moving along with the Regenerative Organic Cotton Pilot Project.
Before the seeds are planted, a lot of preparation needs to be done. So far, Ali and the WWF-Turkey team have been conducting field experiments in consultation with a professor from the Aegean University Faculty of Agriculture. It’s fundamental that we understand the current soil situation as much as possible to get a true baseline. The team has been assessing the physical, chemical, and biological quality of the soil, and process mapping how to monitor soil quality over the course of the project.
The organic cotton seed planting will commence in April, but beforehand, the land needs to be prepared. This begins with the planting of five different species of cover crops. Three are grain crops; barley, wheat and triticale. These were planted to help build organic matter, and cover the soil for the winter, protecting the soil and microorganisms beneath it from wind and water erosion. They are also planted to suppress the growth of weeds. The other cover crops are a vetch from a legume family, used to enrich nitrogen content in the soil, and the final crop is a tillage radish, used to improve soil structure, and allow water to enter into the soil without machinery tillage.