The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Cover crops in March

Young oat plants

A month after planting, our spring oats cover crop is pushing up through its manure and straw topdressing.  The plants only have a month to grow before they are slated to be mowed down to turn into a mulch for our spring garden --- I hope they mow-kill as well as they winter-killed this past year.

Annual ryegrassUnfortunately, I'm stuck dealing with three fall cover crops that didn't winterkill --- barley, annual ryegrass, and crimson clover.  As you can see from my foot in this photo, the ryegrass is shooting up fast, and the barley is nearly as tall.  I hand-weeded barley out of some beds I needed for early spring planting, but am hoping that I can kill off the rest of the beds faster by mowing close to the ground and then topping them off with an inch of horse manure.  If the cover crops don't get the message, I might end up throwing down a layer of cardboard as a kill mulch.  I certainly won't be replanting these three cover crops in our no-till garden --- live and learn!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.



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