a full share crate, chinese cabbage aside!
In Your Crate
Share Crate: more of all of the above!
We really appreciate the outpouring of shared upset and sympathy regarding our bees this season. We are so fortunate to have such a great community of people surrounding us. I have spoken with a few more bee enthusiasts since, and I think our hypothesized story is as accurate as we can guess. (I must admit, I was also pleasantly surprised to receive so much feedback, demonstrating how many people actually do read some of what we post to the internet! Wow. Sometimes it seems a very quiet ether out there!)
I, and we, have continued to put areas of the garden “to bed” for the winter. Once we’ve finished our final harvest of whatever the crop, we have to pull the irrigation lines out. By now they are often woven into the plants (and often into the weeds too!). It takes some effort and time to pull the lines free and get them out of the bed. Then I rototill once more, then I seed a cover crop.
this season we’ve experimented with a new cover crop mix: oats, peas, clover, and radish:
by now, the radish has grown!
The radish is something I’ve wanted to try for years. I was able to find some decent seed for a reasonable price this fall. Radish can penetrate into heavy, clayey soils (which we have in all of our gardens except our “back sands”). Radish can help open these soils up, helping to loosen then. They can grow quite large and deep. These will winter kill. In the spring I can work in all of that great material, adding a tremendous boost of green manure. Very cool if you ask me.
The cover cropping helps greatly to build soil organic matter and tilth. What we usually tend toward are hearty and forgiving cover crops – always growing pretty well no matter what! This progressively adds more and more organic material to the soils. This builds soils stronger, adding and making more available minerals and nutrients (by the way, we’ve also cover cropped and green manured with buckwheat, sunflowers, and triticale).
Triticale is new to us this season too. Our Organic Valley farming friends, Terry and Polly, have started in on triticale, and we are too! Terry has “sold” me some seed for a firewood trade. I’ve heard good things about triticale, and hope it’ll work well for us this fall. We’ll see!