Planting a Cover Crop

by Daisy on 11/18/2011

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This is the tail end of the season to sow cover crops.  I planted the mandala garden in a mixed cover crop at the beginning of November, and a last ditch second crop on top of my hugelkultur bed last weekend.

On top of all the reasons to grow cover crops, I have a secret extra reason, and that is I like to see things growing for as many months and weeks as possible, and these cover crops help me do that.

I go out there every day and watch the seeds swell.

Then the little radicles break free of the seed coat and poke out seeking a place to root.

Next, and my favorite, little bits of green start to appear and shoot straight up.  Straight, straight up.  Excellent posture those green shoots.

It gives me something to water and watch.

And chase the cats off of.

Hey!  Stop that!

Mr.McGregor in a skirt, all grumpy and ridiculous.

The cover crop I planted came from Peaceful Valley.  I actually got three different mixes, one an edible mix.  The directions were a little different from most sowing instructions, and included mixing a rhizobium inoculant with the seeds, along with a mixture of milk and molasses.  The milk and molasses were optional, but I never pass up a chance to do something weird to my seeds.

I mixed the seed mixtures together in a bowl.

Then I poured in the milk and molasses.  The six year old in me who used to sit in the tub and stir together all the different shampoos loves this stuff.

Stirred it all up.

Next the inoculant.

Half a bag.

Why do I enjoy this so much?

How is stirring goop together related to human survival?  Because I have a primal need to do it.

Looks nice and gross.

I took it out to the mandala garden and, with the spoon, broadcast the seeds over the soil  like I was sprinkling parmesan cheese over my pasta.

I tamped it down and covered it with a little topsoil, watered, and three weeks later:

Parmesan cheese never did this.

I’m liking this gardening thing.

 

 



{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Lynnette November 18, 2011 at 2:44 pm

oh, a mandala garden… what have you planted in your special garden? After reading your “Building a Hugelkultur Bed” post I was prepared when my husband asked me what I wanted to do with the sawdust and little chunks of wood from his woodpile he didn’t want. I made a small pile near the kids’ tepee and will make a little round raised bed-something fun for Spring! Thanks!

Tomato Lady November 18, 2011 at 6:08 pm

Lynette–Just the cover crop so far. Hoping to grow more stuff there in the spring!

David Trees December 22, 2012 at 5:26 am

Quick questions please… Why do you need to inoculate your seeds if the soil is healthy? I understand the soak, milk… was it organic… 🙂 molasses not an issue. Were the seeds F1 hybrids? Asking as I have never, in 40+ years of gardening seen it or done it… Am I missing out on something?

Daisy December 22, 2012 at 7:28 am

David Trees–I only ever do this for legumes. Here is the explanation from the seed company which explains it better than I can: http://www.groworganic.com/crownvetch-inoculant.html
I don’t think they mean to imply that the seeds won’t grow without it, but that the germination rate will improve significantly.

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