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

Oat cover crop

Young oat plantsYes, the pictures don't lie --- I've been planting grass in our garden.  Perhaps an eighth of our garden beds are currently fallow, partly because I didn't water carefully enough and had a hard time getting my fall crops to germinate.  As August winds to a close, it's too late to replant the turnips, cabbage, beets, and carrots that had spotty (or no) germination.  Instead, I can double up on greens and lettuce, plan ahead for the fall garlic, and then fill all of the remaining beds with cover crops to improve the soil.

As you'll recall, buckwheat has been relegated to my list of cover crops that can't handle heavy clay and high groundwater --- the precise type of trouble spot I want to remedy with cover crop planting.  The next cover crop on my experimental list is oats, and already this grain seems to be growing much more hardily than buckwheat.  Hopefully, the oats will be winter-killed in a couple of months and will leave the beds happily mulched with straw of their own making.

I had some hull-less oat seeds leftover, but not nearly enough to sow all of the beds I was hoping to turn fallow for the rest of the summer.  After looking at shipping rates on the internet, I realized that cover crop seeds are best bought locally.  Our feed store had a 50 pound bag for about twelve bucks, allowing me to plant as heavily as I pleased with plenty of the moderately high protein grain left to feed to the chickens.

Our chickens love whole grains, but they love clean water even more.  Mark invented a homemade chicken waterer that keeps our water poop-free at all times.

Anna Hess's books
Want more in-depth information? Browse through our books.

Or explore more posts by date or by subject.

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.

Want to be notified when new comments are posted on this page? Click on the RSS button after you add a comment to subscribe to the comment feed, or simply check the box beside "email replies to me" while writing your comment.

Do you prefer the mountains of VA or the foothills of Ohio for farming? I'm curious why you moved. Is Ohio cooler? (We like cool weather.)
Comment by Eliza beth Thu Aug 20 12:20:22 2020

profile counter myspace

Powered by Branchable Wiki Hosting.

Required disclosures:

As an Amazon Associate, I earn a few pennies every time you buy something using one of my affiliate links. Don't worry, though --- I only recommend products I thoroughly stand behind!

Also, this site has Google ads on it. Third party vendors, including Google, use cookies to serve ads based on a user's prior visits to a website. Google's use of advertising cookies enables it and its partners to serve ads to users based on their visit to various sites. You can opt out of personalized advertising by visiting this site.