Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Cover Crop Experiment Continues

The value in the cover cropping I've been doing should be seen in the planting results for this year. I have been a bit late planting this spring, but just about everything is now in the ground. It took me a while to figure out where to plant everything, harvesting then waiting for the cover crop to start to break down, and how to go about doing the planting in the cover crop.

Planting in the rye is definitely difficult. The time spent making and planting the rye in rows next fall will really pay off for planting in the spring. It was tough making furrows to plant seeds when the clumps of rye roots were randomly spaced around the patch. I had to rip out a few but I was able to get everything planted.

Here is the patch of parsnips planted in the rye. I am very interested to see how things go with weeds since hoeing would be very difficult, if not impossible in this patch.
The beets are a bit of an experiment. The first row on the left were planted last month: Chiogga variety. Next is another row of Chiogga, then a row of golden beets followed by another row of golden beets fully in the rye.
The last plot with rye is a large one with corn, beans and squash.  After seeing how difficult it is to dig furrows in the rye I decided to go with the old indian/colonist three sisters' planting method. I dug holes every two feet in a four by five pattern. Into each hole was planted five corn seeds, two louffa gourd seeds and two hyacinth bean seeds.
I had planned to plant the carrots in the rye as well, but thankfully the rye didn't quite go that far. One row of carrots has a small area of rye so I can have a very small trial. I really like Cindy Connor's method of planting carrots in between rows of rye. That will make a huge difference next year.

The last plot of cover crop to be planted was the pole beans. These are seeds I saved from the few plants I grew last year of a Thai bean I got from a friend at work (Thanks Na!) I ate only a few of the beans so I would have enough seeds to get a good planting this year. The pole beans went into the Austrian Winter Peas. The beans don't need the nitrogen from the winter peas but the garden is a great big puzzle when it comes to planting. When you take into account crop rotation and the large area that is too close to the old walnut tree it makes it hard to figure out the best place to plant everything.

One big improvement planting into the cover crop has shown is in water run-off. Most of my vegetable garden is on a slight slope so when I water often the seed will move downhill with the water. That didn't happen with the seeds planted in the rye.  So the experiment continues!

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