I'm fond of Dutch white clover, although I admit I haven't sown it for a few years. I generally sow winter wheat in the fall just to keep the soil in place over the winter. My gardening activities have been greatly reduced in recent years due to my bad back...
Post by 12540dumont on Dec 10, 2014 13:43:52 GMT -5
I'm having a real problem with birds. I seeded the field with farro, and it's all gone. Now they've eaten all the lettuce. Today I'm going to plant more favas and more lupines ahead of the deluge, hopefully they'll hold their own against birdie num nums.
Post by blueadzuki on Dec 10, 2014 14:51:51 GMT -5
I'm personally planning to go with the "lentil-vetches" I pulled out of the lentils this spring; though I'm not sure if you can call it a "cover crop" given I'm not planning to actually chop it down or dig it under. Not all of it anyway (with my supply likely dried up I need to get seed back from it, so I'm only planning to dig under the plants in those places where I need the space to actually plant other seeds. Anywhere in between they vetch is staying where it is unmolested so I can get seed back (and if the birds and beasties do the amount of damage to this that they do to most of the stuff (including standard lentils) I haven't even ruled out carefully digging up any in my way and moving them elsewhere, if the surviving crop looks really sparse.)
Papaver somniferum is commonly illegal, though ignored if not grown in "flying monkey-sized patches", Dorothy. If you're scratching and scraping the seedpods, however, you're in a world of "narc", to coin a phrase. Some South-East Asians, having immigrated to opium-averse North America, have been reported to make a tisane from the pods, to suit their needs/inclinations; humans are so adaptable.
This is in no way to suggest that I would approve or promote the cultivation of P. somniferum for any illegal purpose, no matter how private or harmless.
There is a story that Groucho Marx remarked in an interview that the President (I forget which) "should be shot". The FBI came to investigate "advocating assassination of the President", asking whether he'd said that. Groucho reportedly replied "Of course not; I never speak the truth!" What a mensch!
Is that a thick enough "creative cover crop"?
I'm not some sort of drug -addict, but enjoy cultivating Papaver somniferum. They're very ornamental and care-free in my climate, they also grow taller and thicker then their cousins. And I figure that if I ever get into some kind of medical emergency I'll always have a source of morphine if I need it (although it's highly unlikely). I've personally found the cover to be uneven when I grow them in patches, and as a cover-crop they do get pretty thick. I would imagine that they'd be more sparse/uneven when grown in a more arid climate.
The idea fascinates me. I really hope it works out. What a boon if it does. I'll watch this space with interest.
I decided late last fall to experiment with rototilling just to see how white clover would compete with the seed bank in the spring. It was very late and I wasn't sure if the clover would survive the winter. It did and thrived. The grasses are still there but they never got going. There was no thistle, lambs quarters, dock or anything else that usually grows wild. That's perennial rye growing there. I wanted to see if I could establish it in a area of white clover so that it would have no weed competition. A periodic cutting of the white clover would release nitrogen to the soil. I was quite pleased with the results although this summer was cool and overcast. If it had been a drought summer like 2012, I suspect it would have been a different story.
We were pleased enough with the results that we did another area this past fall. We first broadcast agricultural gypsum to help break up the soil a bit and then broadcast the clover. We'll leave the area growing in clover with a periodic cutting to stimulate clover growth and increase soil organic matter as roots die. The idea is to have areas ready for cultivation if we ever need it in the future. The soil will slowly improve with time. In the meantime, the bees will love the clover. I'm also thinking about an early spring rototilling followed by planting inoculated peas which I would chop & drop just as they flower. Then plant mycorrhizal inoculated buckwheat and chop and drop as it flowers. I'd do as many buckwheat crops that way as I can until a fall tilling followed by a white clover seeding. That would add a fair bit of nitrogen and organic matter to the soil.
Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly - Dalai Lama