Monday, January 7, 2019

Edible Food Forest and Cover Crops

The VegHeadz spent our last workday planting trees in the edible forest garden
The VegHeadz have been busy preparing the back part of the garden for the creation of an edible food forest.  This included leveling the area, digging swales and creating berms to control the flow of water through the area and to provide moisture to the new plants, moving some of the perennial vegetables that are already in place, and growing cover crops to stabilize our changes and improve the soil.  Last week, we planted the trees which are the backbone of the forest.  This is the first phase of plantings.  Citrus and tender perennials will be added in the spring, with additional ground covers, vines, and tubers being added to complete the forest.  It has been really exciting and rewarding to watch it develop. 
Howard makes sure there are no
weeds around a newly planted tree.  Cover
crops remain in place to help nourish the new trees
Because of the work involved in upgrading our garden with new beds and a storage area in addition to creating the forest garden, we did not plant any winter vegetables this fall.  Instead, we sowed cover crops of varying types in almost every available space and they are thriving.  Because of the warm fall and winter, some of the grains have begun heading out, so we will be cutting them back this week to keep them from developing seeds.  The cover crops were selected particularly to help deter nematodes since a soil test last fall indicated we have a nematode problem.  The mustards and other cover crops will be worked into the soil in their beds as well as adjoining areas beds to help reduce the nematode load for the next crop.  

Austrian Winter Peas
Abruzzi Rye
Broadleaf Mustard
Crimson Clover
Red Giant Mustard

Coker Oats

Brassica Juncea - Mighty Mustard

 Our storage area is well on its way to completion, and the new raised planting beds are the next project in development.  We'll be planting peas and potatoes soon--spring is on the way. 

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