The other day as I was cleaning out a bed of morning glory (the intentional kind, not the weedy kind), it occurred to me that the four plants that ended up covering an eight foot section of fence started out from four small seeds. In one season they grew so large that their plant material filled our green bin to the top. And here I was taking all this material that was created from nutrients in the soil and sending it away. I know this is not new information but it really hit home. I thought about how we harvest our veggies and nourish ourselves with the nutrients the plants have taken from the soil. So if we take this out year in and out, how do we give back for the next season of harvests? Adding compost and/or plant food is one way. Growing a cover crop and digging all those nutrients back into the soil is another.
When I heard a few stories from farmers markets customers this year about how much difference cover cropping made to the health and harvests of their gardens, I had to try it. Our neighbor John planted a cover crop in his garden (see right photo) and gave me the leftover seed. Look how lush and beautiful his bed is! The left photo is of our raised bed with those cover crop seeds sprouting. I added some really old brassica seed (cabbage, bok choi and broccoli) Peggy was getting rid of. It’s up and loving the rain. I can’t wait until ours looks like his . . . When this mix starts setting flowers, I will turn it back into the soil. Stay tuned.