Permaculture in Action

So I had huge hopes for my ‘spring’ bed. This was the one that got annihilated by the rains of June ’05 that I had resurrected for 06. I planted it with radishes, spinach, 30′ of lettuce and 40 row feet of peas with hopes of freezing plenty for the winter. This was all to be harvested by, well, now and it replanted with the Three Sisters. It seems that I still had some learning to do, as the nitrogen levels, even with some added organic fertilizer was not up to the task. Of the 10 row feet of spinach, I have 2 plants about 5″ tall (after 6 weeks) and the rest sprouted fine, but never got past 2″. The peas started very slow, but now are coming on strong and I have some blossoms-the lettuce is also finally harvestable. Both are probably feeding off the pea innoculant-which is good. I should still salvage a respectable, though late, pea and lettuce harvest and then I plan on turning it all under and shooting for a fall legume intensive cover crop, followed by winter wheat and vetch to build it up for 2007.

Now my second bed is on its second season and was built with all the TLC I could spare last year. Manure, compost, fertilizer and double digging added up to a decent harvest even in its first year. Then I planted a vetch/winter wheat mix to over winter. The cover crop got in late, so the vetch was just getting going when I turned it under in mid May. In the first week of April, when I was planting peas I had a dozen left over so I tucked them into the last 3′ of wheat in the expectation of turning them under in a month or so. I never did-the peas loved it there. The wheat acted as a nurse crop-protecting the seedlings the first critical weeks from spring rains and winds. Then as the wheat grew, so did the peas-and trellised right up the wheat. Now I understand the soil in this bed is better, but these peas are absolutely flourishing! This November I will sow peas in right before frost along with a light sowing of winter wheat. If they survive the winter this would be the perfect winter cover crop-soil building and edible!


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