Establishing a cover crop: June 7 to August 2

We returned to Bethany on June 7 to try seeding again a few days after the land was roto-tilled with a large tractor and six-foot tiller.

When we arrived, the soil looked a little better, and there were small tillage radish seedlings on the strip we seeded.

Tiller radish seedling

Tiller radish seedling

I pulled a tiller radish seedling out of the ground to get look at the root

I pulled a tiller radish seedling out of the ground to get look at the root

We seeded the tilled land to get an even covering of tiller radish, oats, and rye. We went back and forth and up and down the garden to get good coverage.

Chest seeder, take II

Chest seeder, take II

Our goal is to add lots of organic matter to the soil with the roots of living cover crops, and also incorporation of the entire cover crop.  This gives soil organisms lots of food to grow and multiply.  It is also a weed control method.  We were also hoping the tiller radish would loosen the soil.

After seeding, David incorporated it with the tiller.

After seeding, David incorporated it with the tiller.

We returned to Bethany on August 2 to find the cover crop struggling.  It was not lush and green.  The stand was thin, but it was a cover crop nonetheless.

Tiller radish (white flowers), oats, and rye growing at Bethany.

Tiller radish (white flowers), oats, and rye growing at Bethany.

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