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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Cover Crop to Mulch & Compost

So I planted a cover crop of peas & oats in a few of my garden beds this spring.   I have already turned over the bed where the hot peppers were placed.  My last bed that has to get turned over to plant is for the beans.   The cover crop was over a foot tall by now, and has done a wonderful job of keeping weeds down in beds that won't be used till the soil warmed up.  When I turned the pepper bed the crop was only like 4-6" tall so wasn't a big deal to just turn the crop and all over.  But when over a foot tall it would have been tough to dug all that up and turn it over.  So I decided to hand pull it.

I didn't worry about getting it all out, just the majority of it.  A small bit and some of the root systems were good to keep there to turn over and add more organic matter into the soil to break down.  I did put some of it on the compost pile as I'll have more goat stall bedding to add to it, so needed more green to go with the carbon from the straw. 

After I put some on the compost pile I had a bright idea.... what about putting some of it around some of the other plants as mulch instead?  So I added it to the sides of the other tomatoes, tomatillos and ground cherries.  Plus with the added weight it would help keep the paper mulch from getting blown up. 

cover crops as mulch around the tomatoes.

The other bed I still have cover crop on is the potato bed.  It was actually by accident that I put cover crop seeds on that bed but worked out very much in my favor.  You see potatoes do NOT like really cold / frosty nights and we have had a few since the potato leaves have sprouted.  But the cover crop is taller than the potatoes so it protected them from getting too damaged.  Now that the frost night BETTER be over after this weekends frosty nights - I think I might start pulling up the peas and oats and just lay it on the ground around the potatoes to keep the weeds from getting light to germinate.  I did a little bit of it but will wait another week to finish the bed - JUST in case.

Potatoes with the cover crops pulled and laid down as mulch.

This was 1st year of using cover crops in my planting rotation and will definitely keep using them!!  The seeds are very cheap to buy - and all you have to do is just toss it on the beds and rake it around a bit - very easy planting!  And all the good weed control, mulch, compost... its called green manure for good reason!  I bought my peas/oats mix from High Mowing Seeds.

Here is just a little photo garden update on the rest of the beds....

Sante Fe peppers

Black Pearl - just an awesome looking pepper plant in general!!

Hot Hungarian Wax pepper - the pepper is almost bigger than the plant itself!

The is a Great White tomato - my 1st year for planting white tomatoes -can't wait to see how they taste.

Amish Paste tomatoes - future pasta sauce.

Anaheim Peppers

King of the North Bell Peppers.

Lots of onions...  broccoli, kohlrabi, and brussels sprouts.

Cabbage and onions - I think the onions are keeping the cabbage worms (moths) away!!

Lots of collard greens - we have to use some of these soon so I can thin the area out.

1 comment:

  1. It's looking great1 You are so much further ahead of us. We won't be planting til the ground is warmer.Another 2 weeks or so...although I sure am ready...but the plants aren't!!