39 degrees! That what we woke up to this morning, needless to say, I think that fall is officially in the air, and we couldn't be happier. This has been an amazing year (and we aren’t done yet!), but we are slowing down. We have prepped our large field for the winter, our kitchen garden has been almost fully planted with fall vegetables, the chickens and rabbits are ready for the cooler weather, and we have a huge pile of wood to chop.
We harvested everything we could from the large field, canned it, dried it, ate it, and preserved it. A few days of pulling weeds, row cover, plastic mulch, and mowing were followed by a day of tilling. We still don't have our own, which we will have next year, as it will make my life about a million times easier, so I rented one. We have decided to turn our large field into a grid work of permanent beds, with grass walk ways in between. After making the choice not to do the market anymore and only grow for ourselves, our dinner and workshops, and the farm stand, we realized we don't need nearly as much space. We also wanted to figure out a way to be able to manage the space we do have as easily as possible. As previously stated, I got really overwhelmed this past season, and this plan will eliminate that, well, mostly….
We now have 16 four foot by twenty-five foot beds, separated by 2 foot paths, just large enough for the push mower. These beds will be much easier to manage, weed, amend, grow in, and manage. I am really excited about this plan and I think we will be able to do a lot better next year!
After these new beds were tilled, seeded them in cover crop, we discussed this last year round this time, but to sum up, cover crops are a great ways to add organic material to your soil by growing two types of plants together join the beds during the time that you wont be using them for vegetables. The two crops we use are a tall grower for lots of organic matter, and a legume for setting nitrogen in the soil. We made two mixes, one is a oats and field pea mix, the other is a winter rye and red clover mix. They are all coming up at the moment and we should have some great success, and we might even be able to use some of those grains next year!