A lot of this gardening bit it a learn-as-we-go process. Over the years we have added onto this tiny garden (scroll all the way down — and look at how tiny Milo and Oliver were just two years ago!), trying our hand at any number of vegetables. We have had plenty of hiccups and surprises along the way, but this summer we had quite the bounty… and over the years we have found plenty of uses for all those veggies!
… wait, never mind.
But one area I’m interested in learning more about is planting cover crops in the fall. Doing so will prevent soil erosion and also add much-needed nitrogen back to the soil. This fall, we decided to plant field peas and hulled oats in the space not covered by herbs, strawberries, swiss chard, and lettuces.
Pea plants fix nitrogen and condition the topsoil, while their blossoms continue to feed the pollinators nearby (like the bees in our sycamore tree which Andrew fondly calls his bees). Oats provide green matter and support for the pea vines, and when these plants die off during a hard freeze, leaving them in our garden to decay over winter should provide a kind of mulch that can be tilled back into the garden soil once spring rolls around again.
Oliver asked me one afternoon while I stirred a pot of lentils, “Mama, what can I do?” Be warned if you are ever at our house and ask for something to do, you shall work. He was happy to till the soil, then cart compost in his wheelbarrow to spread into the garden soil. Bonus, he found tons of worms (or in his voice, “woyms!”). Of course, Emil joined in too. Milo was feeling a bit under the weather, so he sat this one out upstairs with a book.
Once the soil was tilled and compost was mixed in, Oliver spread the peas and oats. Aren’t they pretty?
I’m anxious to see how this all unfolds! Have you ever experimented with cover crops?