Week 6: July 9, 2016

Buckwheat cover crop at We Grow LLC

Buckwheat cover crop provides easy to break-down organic matter, weed suppression and pollinator habitat


Entering week six, we are getting excited about all the up and coming produce. The fresh garlic bulbs, green beans, red potatoes, tomatoes… the list goes on. Things are growing so much better than they were in 2015, we are elated with every small success. We actually have too much of some things! What a nice problem to have.

The photo above is our buckwheat planting gone to flower, adding a nice aesthetic quality to our main production area. We chose to plant this in an area just west of our existing high tunnel where we plan to construct our second large high tunnel next spring. Laying a good foundation will be key. We chose buckwheat because it suppresses weeds and attracts beneficial insects and pollinators. It is easy to kill, and extracts phosphorus from the soil better than most grain-type cover crops. The pollinators love the tiny white flowers. If only we could harvest the seeds off this buckwheat. It would be useful in Grandma Celia’s kishka recipe.

As we hit mid-growing season (we started in February!), we are looking ahead at our fall cover crops. We will be planting some new varieties in the coming weeks. The 2.5 acres of winter rye will be harvested for the seeds, which we hope to replant and put more acreage into production of small grains. We will also harvest the straw for valuable mulch in the coming season. Then in the rye field, we are going to grow a quick turnaround biomass building crop that will be tilled under either in late fall or more likely after the snow melts in the spring. The residue will keep the soil safe from erosion over the winter. We use on farm manure as our primary nitrogen source which complements cover crops that build organic matter, something we are seriously lacking in our heavy clay soil. If we have only learned one thing in the last two seasons farming organically, the success of our farm is entirely dependent on the health of our soil.

Dedicated to the job at hand,

Eric & Rebecca

Week Six Newsletter

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