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Avatar for LoopyRacoon
Aug 15, 2021 7:37 AM CST

Concerned about the reappearance of a cover crop during vegetable planting season. Sighing!

I'm a learning organic gardener.

I plan on planting a winter cover crop for two reasons.
One to help deposit much needed nutrient's and two to improve the clay and hardpan?

I did a soil test and the results were "just under adequate, except for the pH level - 6.0/ 6.5 range. Then I found clay. Thein I found hardpan.
I guess it's hardpan Thinking That's what my Dad Calls it. I call it cement!

I have never tried a cover crop but in researching it, it appears to be a very good idea. Crossing Fingers!

ALL comments are welcome. Welcome!

I will be using a combination of::
a - Winter rye
b New Zealand White clover-
c- Hairy Vetch

I sure hope someone can help this new to gardening lady out.
Avatar for hampartsum
Aug 15, 2021 8:14 AM CST
Name: Arturo Tarak
Bariloche,Rio Negro, Argentina (Zone 8a)
Dahlias Irises Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Roses
Hi, I'm an organic farmer way down south, producing fresh veggies for local customers. We've been doing this for already 30 years. I'm now semi retired but I got a degree in agriculture in my university up in Buenos Aires. I can say I know my stuff, although every season I leap forward learning something else or a detail that I hadn't paid attention to.
So:
1. organic gardening is about learning. Learning is about patience in understanding how nature operates.
2. You can ammend with sand, specially if you build raised beds where you grow your veggies. If your scale is that of a home gardener for own consumption (self-reliance), then each season you can add another raised bed. It is much easier to pile up than to dig down!
3. Find sources of manure , ideal is horse manure, second best is sheep barn bedding material ( which contains the sheep manure= our method)
4. Alternatively use alfalfa hay, specially if you find spoiled hay that is sold for its straw value.

Where are you located? Location will give the readers some orientation about your climate and general natural conditions. The size of your project is also important. Cover crops are useful yes, when you have up-scaled to a farm sized area ( measured in acres rather than square feet).

I see no obstacle in your soil pH measurement except for most brassicas ( cabbages and their relatives) and possibly peas. They prefer nearer pH8. That can be remedied easily by adding lime or chicken bedding.

Potatoes, Strawberries, Raspberries prefer pH5.5 So for them you need to add pine needles.

I hope this gives you some guidance.

Arturo
Avatar for bcovert21
Mar 26, 2022 8:32 AM CST

We have winters below freezing and my cover crop of choice is diakon radish (Fracking Seed) planted in the late summer. It grows roots down through the hard pan, dies off when it freezes, adds lots of organic matter as it rots, and doesn't need turned in. I can broadcast it throughout my yard, vegetable and flower garden. Its very dry here (high desert) in the summer, so I add the radish tops to the compost pile in the spring, because without turning them in, they will just lay on top. I only do that in areas where the appearance bothers me.
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