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

Rye cover crop

RyeOnce you start playing with cover crops, bare soil jumps right out at you and begs to be planted.  Last fall, we tore a bit more of the old house down, exposing a big patch of earth in which all plant life had been shaded out.  It was too late to plant anything else, so I just scattered a bunch of rye seeds on the ground and proceeded to ignore it.

The rye sprouted and turned into a lawn-like coating before winter hit.  Then, this spring, the grain shot up and started to bloom.

If I was ready to use that plot of earth, I'd cut the rye now and let the straw fall as mulch.  But there are still huge floor joists to be moved before the footprint of the old house can be turned into garden, and we have no time for projects like that at this time of year.

So I'm allowing the rye go to seed to give me some more time before I need to make a decision about that bit of earth.  Truly a do-nothing grain patch, I haven't tilled, fertilized, or done anything else to the rye.  We'll probably feed any grain we get to the chickens, but what I'm really salivating over is the hefty stalks for mulch.

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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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Last spring I bought wheat "straw" for mulch. This spring the mulched area had a thick cover of wheat. The drought prevented it from sprouting till winter.
Comment by Errol Sun May 13 08:19:11 2012

You could make a traditional pumpernickel, which we call "roggebrood" (rye bread), made from coarsly broken rye. The texture and taste are very different from wheat based breads, though. Tastes good and is very filling.

Comment by Roland_Smith Sun May 13 10:58:36 2012

Daddy --- Sounds like your straw wasn't very straw-like! We've only had a few plants sprout up from our mulch out of the whole garden. The good thing about those sprouts, though, is that they're awfully easy to yank out of the mulch when they're a foot or less tall.

Roland --- For some reason, I'm very averse to the taste of rye. I think I'd rather eat a cicada. :-)

Comment by anna Sun May 13 11:19:29 2012

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