Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Clover Cover Crop

We were so new to gardening when we started selling vegetables that we are just beginning to get our feet wet with cool season production.  Since we use so little of our fields during the winter we cover crop them heavily with rye and crimson clover.  With the lower part of our fields still being wet right now but the temperatures being so warm, the cover crop is going crazy and getting a little out of hand.  We have rye and clover that the Monster could get lost in!  

We have two fields that we have grown sunflowers in for the last few years that acted as a dove plot for III and his dog and a little bit of a cut flower field for me for a few weeks out of the year.  Those two fields got put on the back burner for me for the last few years as far as amendments went.  There was never enough manure or compost to go around and those fields never got any because I wasn't growing anything in them with the intent to sell it.   Because of this we made the decision to put a synthetic fertilizer on them to help the sunflowers out.  It was a quick fix and one that yielded some unexpected results.  

One year Bruce made a pile of cow manure in part of this field and I didn't get it spread and worked into the ground soon enough and it didn't take long before it was covered up in pigweed.  It also didn't take long for that pigweed to go to seed and when it hit ground that had a high nitrogen content due to the fertilizer it took off.  There is not a lot that I dislike about gardening as much as pigweed.  Blister beetles are about the only thing higher on that list.  

We knew when we decided to certify organic that we wouldn't be able to include these two fields in our rotation anytime soon so we decided just to work on them with heavy cover crops and not try too hard to keep the deer out of them.  We're kind of hoping to compromise with the deer.  Maybe if we let them take some cover crop they'll stay out of the veggies.  Probably not.  But we went ahead and started a preliminary deer fence anyway.  And since it's now fenced off, we let the horses into it too.

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