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Cutting the Cover Crop

July 19th, 2014

Yesterday, I finally got around to cutting down the cover crop in the potager. Now I need to figure out what I want to do in these spaces. I was thinking of growing fall crops, but I’m thinking I don’t have the time to manage more crops right now. I may add compost and another cover crop. I was quite amazed that this crop did so well. It was sown on only 2 inches of compost that I put down on top of a layer of cardboard. The cardboard is completely composted thanks to the roots breaking it up during the season.
Cover Crop 1
I love trying different cover crops, so I may finally get around to trying phacelia or another one I haven’t tried yet.  I will also lay down more cardboard beyond this and expend the garden by another few feet on all side.  Slowly but surely this garden is reaching a size that is more in scale with the garden overall.
Cover Crop 2
You don’t have to have a large garden or special equipment to use cover crops in your garden. I used pruning sherds to cut this down, I have also used a scythe in the past. As long as you cut it when it’s in bloom you typically don’t have trouble with plants coming back or anything becoming a problem.

Do you use cover crops in your garden? Do you have a favorite?

8 Comments to “Cutting the Cover Crop”
  1. Joan on July 19, 2014 at 8:21 am

    I like to plant oats in August. It will die in the winter then leave a nice mulch to plant into the next spring. It also worked well in my asparagus patch last year. Still experimenting though…

    Reply to Joan's comment

  2. Nebraska Dave on July 19, 2014 at 8:50 am

    Susy, it’s been a busy week here. I did mange to get some garden time in. I don’t grow cover crops per se but young weeds, which were many this year, that pop up are used for mulch. They are added to the deep mulch already there. It’s amazing how fast the deep mulch will turn into compost. Last fall the yard waste was a least a foot deep over all the garden. At this point in the garden year the mulch has composted down to about four inches. It already is starting to look like soil. The eight inches of mulch from the year before has totally become topsoil. I’m now using grass clipping from my yard because I don’t use chemicals and from my new property called 35th Street Corner. I get a total of five to six yard wastes bag of chemical free grass clippings a week. Pure grass clippings have to be spread pretty thin or they will end up slimy and stinky.

    Have a great cover crop day.

    Reply to Nebraska Dave's comment

  3. Maybelline on July 19, 2014 at 11:01 pm

    I’m thinking of doing this. Do you turn over the green crop or what once you’ve cut it?

    Reply to Maybelline's comment

    • Susy on July 20, 2014 at 7:32 am

      Nope, I usually just leave it as mulch, but you can turn it in if you want to.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  4. sarah on July 20, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    I read about people using cardboard this way often, but isn’t there any concern about all the glue and chemicals in the cardboard itself?

    Reply to sarah's comment

  5. katy on July 21, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    I just finished cutting down old bean plants. I cut them instead of pulling them so the nitrogen nodules will stay in the soil. In a couple of weeks, however, I want to plant carrots.I would think I would need to pull what is left of the plants so the carrot roots have room to grow. Do I? Or do I just leave them in?

    Reply to katy's comment

    • Susy on July 21, 2014 at 3:56 pm

      You can probably leave them, the roots should compost fairly quickly and they shouldn’t interfere with the carrots much.

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • katy on July 22, 2014 at 4:07 pm

        that’s what i was thinking/hoping. thx so much!

        to katy's comment

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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