On Monday this week, some of the interns got some tractor time mowing cover crops like buckwheat in some of the upper fields. Cover crops play an important role in organic gardening, acting as green manure for the fields and returning much needed nutrients to the soil. Some cover crops like legumes even fix nitrogen.
And when you mow, sometimes you attract an interesting wildlife audience. A hawk came by hunting in the freshly mowed fields, snagging a lunchtime snack.
I had to be out of town last week for travel to a conference. When I came back, the tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and zucchini in the high tunnel had nearly doubled in size. What a difference a week makes, especially in the summer!
This week’s weed of the week is the Morning Glory. When it begins to grow it appears up right but will quickly spread along the ground as a vine. It can be identified by its heart shaped leaves and an ability to wrap around anything within reach.
Meanwhile in some muscadine vines a few of our interns found some bright blue birds eggs sitting in a nest! Hopefully we’ll be hearing the chirps of baby birds soon.
After harvesting garlic this week we let it dry, then braided it to allow air circulation while curing. Find garlic at the markets soon!
Here in the garden we have to clear a lot of different weeds so that our plants don’t get out competed for resources and nutrients. This week our weed is Nut sedge. Sedges are in the Cyperus family and often spread through rhizomes which grow off of roots and spread underground, because of this you must be very through when you weed out nut sedge.
This spreading via roots (which are called rhizomes) are very common for nutsedges
We often use sandbags to hold down floating row covers, deer netting, and other temporary coverings/fencing. When it isn’t in use it gets piled in the barn. These piles apparently make a great hang out spot for this juvenile black rat snake. These guys are welcome guests in an old barn where there are plenty of mice running around, but they sure will make you jump when your not expecting them.
Cover crops are important for adding organic matter back to our soil that we take so much from. Buckwheat is a great fast growing cover crop that can also attract beneficial insects, but don’t let it go too long or it will set seed and try to come back in your crops. It is also kind of pretty too!