Since our soil has a serious dearth of organic matter, this weekend I planted a big mix of cover crops over more than one quarter of our gardening area.
You can see the video here:
My favorite part is mixing all the seeds together:
This isn’t the first cover crops mix I’ve made. Some years ago I made a much crazier mix:
Right now I have a limited variety of seeds available so I am working with what I have. It’s also getting closer to winter, so warm-season plants aren’t going to survive for long.
The Seed Mix
This current cover crop mix includes:
Rye (Grain Rye, not “Rye Grass”)
Winter Peas (Frostmaster)
The reason for this mix is to add organic matter to the soil and create a living polyculture that will feed the soil biology. When you don’t have enough compost, it makes sense to grow your own in place.
The Problem With Compost
I mention in the video that buying compost has become difficult due to aminopyralids and other contaminants working their way through the supply chain.
One viewer wrote in the comments:
“Have you considered identifying a source of compost that does not contain aminopyralids? I know you well enough to know this is not beyond you. You lose authority with bogus excuses. You just can’t afford to lose authority. Your livelihood depends on it.”
My response was that I wrote an entire book on the topic.
If you only watched my videos and didn’t follow everything else that was going on, I can see the point. Where is the compost pile? Where are the videos showing me scrounging for materials to fix the organic matter issue uncovered by my recent soil test?
Where is that guy who can face down any gardening problem and laugh?
I actually do have a compost pile right now, and I am working on sources of organic matter.
One of the points of the video is that you can grow your own compost, right in place, with a green manure system – which is much faster and easier than making a bunch of compost for an 8,000ft2 garden.
But we also moved only a month ago. I left behind more than a ton of compost at my old homestead. And an epic compost pile system I built.
Starting again in awful, dead sand is tough. But it’s a challenge. And it’s a challenge that I am facing with an audience of over 100,000 people.
No pressure, right?
I don’t have a source of woodchips yet. I don’t have my biomass-producing hot tub ponds. I don’t have all my awesome tropical chop-and-drop plants like I had in my amazing tropical garden. I don’t have a compost sifter, or a wheelbarrow, or even some old fencing to make composting rings from. I don’t have a chicken pen for manure. I don’t have a food forest with lots of biomass. I don’t have nitrogen-fixing trees, or Mexican sunflower plants, or comfrey, or moringa.
We are starting from scratch again, on a rental property. We’ll get there, one piece at a time.
The cover crop mix is a good start, but it’s just a start.
Hey – you know me. We’re going to make compost. Lots of compost.
One step at a time. One foot in front of the other.
The excuses aren’t bogus. And they aren’t even excuses. They are reality right now. We just escaped an increasingly bad situation in the Caribbean and I am so happy to be back. If I “lose authority,” so be it. I’m just this guy, you know?
For now, I am glad to have the space we have and access to a tractor and good feed stores with supplies. And I really like being able to order online again and actually have the postal system work!
I’ll keep you all apprised on how the cover crops work out.
And as multiple people mentioned, if deer come to eat my plot, venison is good eating.
Hunting season starts soon. I’ll be ready.
Some people, still locked into only one way to do things rather than looking for the most appropriate way to get things done NOW. If it’s not wood chips purists, it’s compost purists!
I am so glad you are back in the states. Having access to what you need and want. Growing food for your family. Pursuing your Passions. God bless you.
Forget all of that! What you really need to grow your crops right is…………ROBOTS!
I dont think that the vast majority of people understand, the culture shock , that happens when we come back to the states, where for better or worst everything is now, not tomorrow, where its get her done yesterday not , it can wait till I feel like it ( IM talking about government employees in other lands, lol ) I feel for you. What you have done in less than 3 weeks, its amazing. Truly, you are being led by the spirit and hand of God. As to the nay Sayers, the haters, the dream killers, well they have no idea of what the fi ng blazes they are talking about and I cleaned it up for the ladies present! no need to thank me, lol. God Bless you and multiply your blessings!
Well, if you’re adding a heap of amendments to the beds, a green manure crop is pretty much what I’d do next anyway. Gives the chemistry time to shake into place. And increasing the soil organic content in a light sand like that is a major task. 1.2% Organic Carbon works out to roughly 16.8 tonnes/hectare. About eight US tons to the acre if you were bringing in almost pure char. Add to that, just digging in compost without plant cover, you can end up with the methogenic microbes just turning it all into fart and wafting it back into the atmosphere!
Yeah, the organic matter is a bed-by-bed thing without tons of green manure.