Under Cover Crop
We've been really stoked on our cover crop this spring. After last year's less than impressive performance, we're luxuriating in the thick rye and vetch that has sprung up this winter, despite the drought.
We think our soil fertility has increased because of the work we did last year applying compost and compost tea, establishing summer cover crops, and adding organic amendments. We still have to get a soil test done this spring, which will be super interesting.
Last summer's cover crop did really well too. We sowed it at a couple different points through the summer, and use wobbler sprinklers to keep it growing. Our east field had a big mix of rye, turnips, field peas, radishes and sunflowers.
The back half of the west field had a mix of buckwheat, turnips and daikon radish (which were delicious!).
Now that we have a bomber cover crop established we just need to work on making our mowing process a little less ridiculous...
Update: We're not ridiculous anymore! Thanks to support from our awesome friends, family and total strangers we purchased a flail mower for our walking tractor last year, and it absolutely destroys cover crop. Such a relief!
2/23/2016 08:10:48 pm
This is very interesting. I have a meadow that needs this type of improvement. It was really damaged in the 1997 flood and needs restoration.
3/1/2016 09:57:05 pm
Hi Lyn, that's interesting to think about cover crops for meadow restoration. Unfortunately the way we get this beautiful cover established involves tilling before seeding, which seems like it would be kind of drastic for a meadow. But there's some really interesting work being done out there with no-till seed drills, that would be really fun to experiment with. I don't know of anyone around here that has that equipment, but maybe someday. Best of luck with your restoration!
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Cody and Elizabeth's ruminations from the field...