Friday, September 4, 2009

Can you hear the grass growing?

Some of you may have noticed the very tall corn growing near the flower garden-- it's broom corn, actually a sorghum. It was (and still is) used to make brooms. I like to grow it for it's ornamental use, in holiday wreaths and autumn decorations. Also I just like to grow it because its so darn tall.
I planted a lot more of a different kind of grass last week: Winter Rye. I scatter these seeds, mixed with Hairy Vetch, on empty ground as a cover crop. Cover crops prevent erosion during the winter. The Vetch is a legume that will add nitrogen to the soil (enabling us to use less fertilizer), and the rye will add a lot of organic matter. I will plow these in in the spring. The front field by the greenhouse will become the pick-your-own garden for next year!
I use this heavy thing to pack the seeds into the ground & cover them up a bit. It's called a Cultipacker. I pulled it out of the hedgerow-- it's another one of Bob's old farm pieces, rusty but still functional.
This is the seed before I mix it into the hand broadcast spreader:
And Voila! We have tiny sprouts! I timed the planting right before we got a few days of rain (the remnants of a hurricane off the coast)... and they had just enough water to start their life. Hopefully we'll get some more substantial rain in the next week to speed these little ones on their way.
We will be planting more rye soon on the new fields, and oats too. After I till in a few rows of crops, I will plant more rye & vetch to cover the soil for the winter.

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