April 8, 2009
. (~2 hours labor). It's now just 4 weeks since "early" planting of spinach, lettuce, onions, peas. Despite the cold snap for most of the past few weeks, I got excellent germination all around with the exception of one small bed of lettuce. Seed might have washed around a bit. Reseeded/overseeded and sprinkled some soil on top. Here are a couple of rows of spinach (some a bit dense):
A couple of missed spots in the rows of peas, into which I planted more.
Then I mulched between the rows with just-clipped cover crop rye.
: 6 asparagus spears! Ate 'em right then and there, as usual. I only had one small (12 inch diameter) bunch for the last 5 or 6 years. Last year I transplanted a small bunch; both were bearing today. I'm not sure if I should let the transplanted one "rest" this year, following the usual recommendation of waiting until the 3rd year to harvest.
(most into beds that I turned over 2 weeks ago): Spinach (Botanical Interests, cv. Correnta - a "breakthrough, bolt-resistant spinach"); Green beans (just small beds - it's still a bit early - Jade from Johnny's and Purple Queen from Botanical Interests);a basil, dill, marjoram, and savory herb mix from tennesseesaves.org
- a gift from a U TN Extension friend; and finally, some pea and lettuce fill-in mentioned above.
Lots of cover crop action today!
Rye is about knee-high and jointing in most beds, except for the latest-planted (Nov. 08) which is shorter. In most beds with vetch/rye mix, I clip the rye to about 6 inches tall and remove clippings, leaving the vetch to grow.
Beds with more weeds (chickweed and henbit) than vetch in the mix, I clipped, removed the clippings, then turned under.
Pure rye is either left to grow taller (fun to watch!) or some was clipped today. I have a plain old hand hedge clipper that does wonders in these small areas. Pure vetch is left to fix about 2 pounds per acre per day for the next month or so.
Soil tilth is really great!
Haven't tested in a while, but soil organic matter is over 10%. Check out the photos and the cover crop roots in the first one:
And finally, here's a shot of one cover-cropping fanatic
surrounded by avid clean-tillers
! but remember, hidden behind those cover crop beds are lots of little seedlings! Yes... definitely a teachable moment...