Homesteading Forum banner
1 - 5 of 5 Posts

·
Registered
Acta non verba
Joined
·
1,211 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Our garden, probably around 50x50 feet, we're going to lay fallow for at least this year. The chickens and goats will be able to traipse through it (favoring more the goats than chickens for the grazing year).

I don't mind leaving it patchy-looking, but I know we'll get Creeping Charlie and I was wondering if I might seed something more worthwhile for the grazers from this list:
Cover Crop Seeds | Farm & Garden - Bulk Wholesale Available - Free S&H (trueleafmarket.com)

I live in Vermont, zone 4.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,532 Posts
Seed it to a party mix of six or twelve different cultivars. Make sure there is a few legumes, properly inoculated in there. Diversity is your friend. If you aren’t scared of herbicides, kill it off at the end of the season with that and no till into it in the spring. Alternatively, roll it flat in the fall. and no till it in the spring. Either way, no till is the key If you wish for improved soil. Leave the roots and root channels intact.

it’s hard for many to get their heads around no till. When every garden I see is continuously rototilled year after year. We have had a notill garden for close to 20 years. The soil is truly amazing now. What was tilled, loose, fluffy, lifeless soil, is now truly incredible soil. Adding lots of manure/bedding mulch is also helpful of course. Our non sown garden area gets a foot of new mulch every spring, and it is perfect to seed into the following spring.

Higher productivity, no weeds or weeding, and potatoes you pull out with your bare hands. That is the result for us.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,292 Posts
a) -- agree that legumes should be included to increase N fixation. You can just buy a bag of black beans at the dollar store. They germinate & grow quite well. If you have oats for your livestock, they also can be used as seed--helps keep things on the cheap.

b) I think the concept of "No Till" has been perverted to mean no tilling at all. In fact, you don't want to till so deeply that you upset the soil structure, ie- churn up the lower clay/sand layer that contains almost no bacteria or invertebrates while burying the "living" humus layer too deeply....Deep tilling also forms a hard pan layer that prevents good drainage from the humus layer...Those beneficial bacteria only 500u in diameter don't know where they are and a tiller with tines a qtr inch thick are not going to kill any---You just don't want to bury them where they can't get any air.

If you don;t till at all, that top layer of debris from last yr's crop can prevent erosion and serve as mulch. OTOH, if you till it in, it helps increase the organic content (fiber) in the soil a little faster.....It's a trade off....If I had shallow, poor soil, I'd till it in in the spring.
 

·
Registered
Acta non verba
Joined
·
1,211 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you! I purchased a mix of several annual varieties and hope I can give the weanling goats some of that once it starts up. I will start gradually to acclimate their rumen, probably hand cut it and feed small amounts before turning them into that section with portable netting fence. Here's the mix type:
Austrian Field Pea22.95%Pisum sativum
Hard Red Winter Wheat21.54%Triticum aestivium
Triticale19.90%× Triticosecale
Collard Green7.95%Brassica oleracea var. acephala
Daikon Radish7.83%Raphanus sativus
Hairy Vetch7.92%Vicia villosa
Crimson Clover3.27%Trifolium incarnatum
Frosty Berseem Clover2.61%Trifolium alexandrinum
Yellow Mustard2.00%
 
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
Top