Project: Bringing No-till and Direct Seeding Technology to San Juan Island Farms

Project Manager:San Juan County Conservation District No-till Direct Seed Soil Health Project
San Juan Conservation District
PO Box 1728
Friday Harbor, WA 98250
(360) 378-6621


To introduce a No-till Direct Seed Program to the San Juan County agricultural community. The District will provide on-site technical assistance, using a no-till drill purchased by the District, to at least 10 local farmers. Cover crop seeds and rotation education will be provided as part of the project to ensure that soil will remain covered at all times during the three year project, with maximum plant diversity. Results will be shared on tours and field days.

Project Update:
The program has been designed with a landowner packet that explains how to implement the new no-till practices, including the cover seed trials that will keep the ground covered. The packet is ready to be sent to the 20 landowners who have expressed an interest.
Using small one or two-acre test plots on ten to twenty farms on four ferry-served islands, we will begin testing soils this spring and later will test yields for experimental cover crops planted using the No-till direct seed drill. We expect to add a level of experimentation with both native seeds and biochar. All results will be carefully monitored, with before and after soil testing. Given the wide variation in soil types in the islands, this project is designed to be site specific, tailored to the soil type and micro-climate of the individual farms. Working with a local business, Natural Plant Solutions, LLC, we hope to be able to provide San Juan County farmers and livestock managers with a suite of successful cover crops and soil amendments for a range of soil types.


Bruce Gregory, SJICD conservation planner, left, and Andrew Borner, Managing Partner, Natural Plant Solutions LLC, right.