Monday, July 6, 2015

My cover-up

Winter rye

My cover-up

0 comments

In 2007, mindful that we should be rotating vegetable crops in the garden so the soil doesn't get depleted or diseased, I planted my second-season tomato seedlings in a different spot. What a disaster. The harvest was truly pathetic. This past summer, the tomatoes returned to the vegetable plot, only to be done in by near-drought and thirsty squirrels prone to taking one giant bite and a big slurp out of every tomato on the vine.  I'm in no mood in 2009 to make this a hat trick. The tomatoes will stay in the vegetable garden but for the first time, I've planted a cover crop to restore nitrogen to the soil over the winter. I tossed - broadcast - annual winter rye seeds in there a couple of weekends ago. Although this photo looks like it was taken in a jungle, it's a bird's eye view of the rye sprouting. Winter rye helps with soil erosion and topsoil loss, something I don't need to worry much about in my raised beds. But it'll add rich organic matter, improve soil fertility and structure and, I hope, help me grow great tomatoes next year.

A friend has sown red clover for the first time in her much-larger vegetable garden and we plan to compare notes in the spring. I picked rye on the recommendation of an employee at Primex, who said it was the best in our cold winter climate and better than clover for my relatively small area. It won't scale the walls and overwhelm everything else, he said, promising I could cut it down and till it in next spring with good results. Should be a fun experiment and one more thing we can do to avoid synthetic chemicals. I'll let you know.

0 comments
We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy:

Philly.com comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by Philly.com staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
 
comments powered by Disqus
About this blog

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
Latest Videos:
Also on Philly.com
letter icon Newsletter