Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Beyond Cultivation

OK, that may be an exaggeration of a title, but, in thinking of my plans for next year (something I inevitably do around this time of year), I have devised two plans to radically reduce the weed pop on our farm, something those of you who have been down there know we could use.  It took me this long to get in the mental space of cleaning up the fields (of weeds), the first few years were just about muddling through the creation of this thing that is now open heart farm.

So what are these things: the first is landscape fabric.  A few of the farmers in the Intervale use it.  I plan next year just to try it on my melons, so one 24'X300' piece will be plenty.  I liked the way one of the agro-ecology students described its effect on the weed population.  It's not as tho the fabric just kills all the weed seed, maybe some germs and dies, but the main reason it will help in future years is the "cascade effect," i.e. all those weeds that never went to seed that year.  I just get so excited as I think of that cascade effect moving around the field.  And if it works potentially expanding it to one or two other heat loving crops.


The second is Sudan grass, which as you can see is very broad leafed.  Rachel thought, and almost everyone who passes it does, that is was corn for a second.  That broadness will count for a lot of organic matter and also it what helps it be a smother cover.  So the plan is to so winter wheat now in my next years fallow area, and then instead of letting the weeds grow between that wheat all year next year, disk it in a few times, try to stale bed some, and then hit it late to mid summer with the Sudan grass.  I hope that sounds as exciting to everyone else as it does to me.

Anyway, in veggie news, we will be spending alot of our time harvesting roots for the CSA and for our winter market.  More time than ever before. 

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