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

Followup on no-till "cover crop"

Making no till beds with old weeds

Remember how I piled up weeds on some fallow beds a few weeks ago?  My hope was that the weeds would rot down into a mulch, killing the weeds on the bed and protecting the bare soil --- a sort of no-till cover crop.

This week I'm due to plant peas in those beds, so I went to poke at them.  The result --- it's a good technique, but needs a bit of tweaking.  The beds which I covered three weeks ago were nearly ready to plant into, but I had to pull a lot of weeds on the sides of the beds, making me think that I should have poured weed mulch there as well as on the bed tops.  I scraped back the mulch with my hands to open up two rows of bare soil, planted my peas, and sprinkled some of the mulch lightly over the soil-covered seeds.

Unfortunately, the weeds which I'd dumped on beds a week and a half ago weren't ready to be planted into yet.  I carefully picked through the weed mulch on one bed to remove any weeds which still showed color.  On another bed, I just gave in and yanked all of the weed mulch off.  I figure in the future, I should plan to leave the weeds at least a month to rot down before I plant.

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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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