Thursday, March 15, 2012

Fresh Start

Freshly tilled garden with sections of winter rye cover crop.

It's mid March and it's feeling like mid May.  The gardens are dry and it has been perfect weather to till.  It would be perfect for planting, too, if the next 2 months didn't still hold the threat of nasty weather. 

With all the changes around here, it's been hard for me to know exactly what I would be capable of doing this season.  Namely, little Liza, who is now 3 months old, is the determining factor.  Luckily, things have been going smoothly, I am feeling good, and I have a great husband and family who are willing to help me.  And my plans are not grand, we'll be keeping things simple with goals of improvement and light production for our family and one farmers market.

Cover crops are a big part of my plan for soil improvement this season.  Since we won't be planting the whole garden this year, it's a perfect time to plant cover crops.  Cover crops, sometimes called 'green manures', are crops that you plant without the intent to harvest them for consumption.  They can be turned directly into the soil, cut down and used as a mulch, or cut and composted.  Either way, their purpose is to improve the soil by adding nutrients, organic matter, and preserving the soil structure by reduced tilling.  This season we'll be experimenting with different covers.  Right now I'm psyched that the fall planted winter rye seems to be doing reasonably well.  Cover crops are a great way to grow soil fertility on your property without having to import anything in from the outside.

With the start of a new season, I'm feeling optimistic and looking forward to a new way of managing the gardens.  Happy Spring! 

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