Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Planting cover crops

I need to put in my notes that I planted cover crops in the Upper Garden a couple days ago. As predicted we got a good soaking rain last nite and into this morning. So it was perfect timing.

This is what I planted. 

I've spent a lot of time tilling and improving the soil with lime to get ready for next season. Most importantly, I've been planning my cover crops. Mostly I had winter rye which does really well here. But I was thrilled when I found a mix of buckwheat, Autrian winter pea, hairy vetch, and daikon radish for just $5 at Merit Seed in Amish country.

This is the mix. 

Merit has a terrific shop with extremely helpful folks. You can also order their seeds online. They always have something interesting and if you want a smaller package of seeds they will pack however much you need.

Why cover crops? This is actually a pretty interesting site - but I don't think he maintains it anymore. Basically I'm on a mission to improve my soil no matter what. The theory is that you don't want any bare soil to erode during the winter. And the deeply rooted cover crops will break up the soil and fix your nitrogen. In the spring you just mow off the whole thing, till it under, give it a couple weeks (or more) to break down, and then plant your garden. We'll see how this does.

There are volumes writting on the benefits of cover crops. Check out the Extension Office near you for what will work best in your area. 

Is this a little late for planting? Yep but aside from one almost freezing nite later this week - we are still in a mild pattern. It would have been better to have gotten this all planted earlier in the fall but it was so dry it probably would not have worked. So might as well give it a go. For $5 it's not much of a gamble.  And every little bit helps, right?

Happy Friday everyone! Are you planting cover crops?


David said...

Interesting. I hope you have time for germination. I like the idea of daikon radish as a way to increase biomass of the subsoil.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

i figure it is worth a try. i mixed the mix with the rye and that is supposed to be planted about now. so we'll see.

Unknown said...

I just put some summer cover crops in beds that I know won't get enough water over summer. If we get rain the cover crops will grow and i dont have to feel guilty about planting veges only to see them whither. I just used mung beans and mustard. If they grow I'll feed them to the chickens.

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