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Cover crops: slow going

I have many spots where silt collected after rain, and the soil looked flat and barren. But there was grass seed under there, and eventually the grass breaks through with a vengeance.

It’s been a constant challenge to get cover crops going on more than an acre laid bare. The overall result is still far from photogenic. The soil was brutally disturbed three times — first for the taking out the pine trees, then again for removing the stumps, and then again for putting in the septic tank. I flung a variety of seeds, at different times, onto different conditions — fescue grass, rye grass, red clover, and white clover. In places I have pretty good cover, but the roots are still shallow, and rain is needed more often than it comes. In the really tough spots where the topsoil was removed — the front ditch and beside the driveway — I’ve watered regularly with a hose. Into the bare spots I poked beans and peas. Anything resembling lushness is weeks or months away, but stuff is growing.

Crops in straight and orderly rows, nicely segregated? Ha! Maybe someday. I poked seeds wherever I thought they might grow. Here we have corn, clover, fescue, and cucumber all in one place. Whether I harvest corn and cucumbers is not my main concern this year. I’ll take anything that has roots and holds the soil. The variety also makes for good experiments. I’ll learn a bit about what wants to grow where.

The beans and peas I planted all around are coming up very enthusiastically. With decent rain and a bit more nitrogen, who knows what might happen.

The cantaloupes are flourishing…

… and the tomatoes are doing well.

I’ve won the war for the front ditch. I now have strong fescue and young clover there, so even in a heavy downpour it’s no longer likely to erode.

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