Planting spring cover crops
usually the begining of our big planting push,
with 31 beds slated to be seeded along with some perennials in the
forest garden and chicken fodder crops in the chicken pasture.
However, the addition of spring cover
to our rotation led to an even earlier planting heyday this year.
Wednesday, I got out my soil thermometer and decided the ground was
warm enough to put in 20 beds of oats, two of which were interplanted
with field peas.
These oats will become
mulch for summer corn, beans, and squash, and I
debated whether to manure the beds now or wait until May when the
vegetable seeds go into the ground. I eventually decided to
topdress our inch of composted manure over the oat seeds since compost
is a time-release fertilizer and I suspect there will be plenty of
nutrition left to feed the summer crops when the time comes.
Rotting oat leaves and roots should put the nutrients sucked up by the
cover crop back into the
soil throughout the summer, too, so nothing will be lost. I even
added a thin layer of straw on top of the newly planted beds to
keep the manure from drying out.
It may seem like a lot
of work to grow mulch, but I was extremely happy with my fall
cover crop trials
and suspect that my spring planting will repay me as well. And
then there's the other incentive of planting cover crops --- working my
way through that 50 pound bag of oat seeds I bought in the fall....
Our chicken waterer gets day-old chicks off to a
fast start and keeps five year old hens laying like youngsters.
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