Friday, October 6, 2017

Planting a cover crop in the orchard

We finally started getting some rain.

Rainfall usually picks up after Labor Day.  Lake Michigan is relatively warm and starts pumping moisture into the air instead of cooling the air and stripping moisture out.

This rain is about a month late.

I went out and broadcast rye, the grain, into the orchard today.  I spray herbicide to kill weeds between the trees and leave a strip of grass between the rows.  I planted the rye into some of the places where I had sprayed herbicide.

I planted the herbicide treated areas where I had not planted rye with a brassica mix.

My hope is to grow some organic material in-place.  It is much easier to scatter seeds then to hump in hundreds of pounds of leaves.  It is also cheaper and I run less risk of importing noxious weeds.

Another advantage is those growing plants should scavenge any nitrogen that would leach out of the soil.

A third advantage is that the young plants will insulate the soil and it should stay warmer.

The major disadvantage is that I am likely to have more rodent problems.  One of the reasons I waited for rain is because the rodents and birds would have simply eaten the seed as it waited for enough rain to start growing.

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