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Soil Amending

Cover Crop Trial: Peaceful Valley Organic Soil Builder Mix

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I'm trying out a new cover crop blend this year in my Tomato & Potato Beds. It's a blend made by Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply that contains:

  • Bell Beans
  • BioMaster Winter Peas
  • Purple Vetch
  • Lana Vetch
  • Common Vetch
  • Cayuse Oats
Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 March 2012 12:08

Compost Tea Brewing

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I've been reading a lot about garden ecology these last few months. Garden ecology focuses on the biology of each zone of the garden: deep soil zone, root zone, rhizosphere, leaf zone, outer environment. The healthier each of these zones are, the better your plant grows. What I've come to learn is that healthy soil can't be determined by just measuring the nitrogen, phosphorous & potassium (NPK), but is completely determined by the health of the biological activity, or lack thereof, of the soil & surrounding zones.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 June 2010 06:42

Nitro Persian Clover Cover Crop

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Last weekend I planted Nitro Persian Clover for a cover crop in two of my vegetable beds. The first bed was where I grew corn and summer squash. The second bed contained potatoes, garlic and shallots.

Cover crops are a great way to replace the nutrients lost from your vegetable gardening. They also protect the soil from the elements, weeds, erosion and structure damage.

Clover is a legume, so it will add nitrogen to the soil. According to the seller, Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply, this variety will fix approximate 200 lbs of nitrogen per acre. It will also reseed itself, which is good, since it's a great plant to interplant with the rest of my garden vegetable plants. It also has a  fragrant flower that bees love. It tolerates poor soil and will be okay with mowing, if it gets too tall & unwieldy at 2'. 

It's getting down to the low 40's at night and about 60-80 during the days right now, and it's germinating well. I'm having to water it quite a bit, since i didn't want to cover it with straw. I'm going to be turning this directly into the soil before spring's planting, so i didn't want a bunch of dried straw in that mix. I think the rains will come next week, or so, to keep it happy, but it only needs 8"-10" of rain per year.


UPDATE: 4/26/10

Last week I cut down all of the clover that I was using as a cover crop for this year's tomato plot. I then turned it under, first using a shovel & some sweat...then I went out and bought a sweet little cultivator. The Honda FG110 works great. The soil looks amazing. I will be testing the soil today and then again in 2 weeks to see if the available nitrogen has increased.

Next year I won't let the clover get as tall as I did this year. I will whack it down mid way through the season, without killing it. The tall stems were a little too fibrous for the weed whacker and then got bound up in the cultivator.

As far as interplanting goes, i think i will only plant the clover after the main crop is completely established. It was way too much competition for the lettuces & greens that I interplanted with it. 



Last Updated on Monday, 26 April 2010 06:28

Adagio Teas

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