Friday, May 28, 2010

Both Gardens - In!

I both both gardens in: the one at home in Chicago and the other in Wisc at our church-house. Nothing at the farm this year - we just aren't there enough to tend to crops. We would like to get some beds prepped and seeded with cover crops this year, but that involves buying a plow and we haven't focused on that (yet).

I planted all seedlings that I started myself. The weed pressure at the church-house garden is severe. In fact, it isn't just weeds - sigh... it is quackgrass and it is a formidable opponent for organic gardeners (all gardeners in fact).

I turned the soil with a garden fork and removed as much of the top grass and the roots as I could. I then went through it again with my Cobrahead (looove this tool!) and my hands and pulled every piece I could out. The soil is really friable and lovely thanks to the huge compost addition two years ago so it is almost enjoyable to weed quackgrass. The roots just go on and on!

We won't be back up for several weeks, so I am sure that it will take over the garden by then.

Meanwhile I'm doing some research on how to eradicate it without using Roundup. I've read that a cover crops can smoother it. A rotation of buckwheat, winter rye, buckwheat and winter rye again can almost eliminate it. The rye was sown at 175lb/acre in September and disced in April at knee-high. Buckwheat sown in May at 70 lb/acre and disced in full bloom. Repeat for a 2nd year.

All of this has made me realize that we better get shopping for a plow - I think we should get this cover crop rotation going on at least an acre at the farm this fall. Judging by the amount of invasives that we currently have (thistle, wild parsnip, burdock), it is pretty obvious that we will have quackgrass too.

One other note on quackgrass. I did hear that ducks love it and can clear a garden of it in no time.


Barb said...

I'll have to put ducks on my list of farm animals :-).

angie said...

Hi Barb,

Me too.