Monday, October 17, 2011

Fall garden & cover crop

I had terrific germination on all seeds for the fall garden but I think I planted too early.The way I calculated planting time was to take the number of days it takes for the plant to reach maturity, subtract that number from the average first frost date, and kaboom, that's when I plant.

Well, the temperature was still in the 90's - which, as it turns out, is too hot to plant fall greens. Most died, unfortunately. I waited until it cooled a little and spread a few seeds in the beds. The results were just OK, not great as I expected.

The romaine did poorly, kale did OK, chard (pictured left) did best but still not as well as expected. About one fourth of the broccoli/cauliflower made it.

What I decided to do was to plant a ground cover that would enrich the soil for next year. I choose crimson clover and hairy vetch, pictured here.

The pea-shaped leaves are crimson clover and the taller plants with bamboo-like leaves are hairy vetch.

I sowed the ground cover in the rows with winter greens as well, under the assumption I would be able to recognize the difference until it no longer mattered - post frost.

Below is a good video explaining the use of ground cover and how it helps the soil.

Enjoy and let me know, on the comments form, how your gardens are coming along. Also, my gardening eBook is now available in all major eBook formats as well as PDF.

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