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Cover Crop Experiments

Over the past few weeks we have been working the field that we weren’t able to plant with corn due to spring rains. A lot of fields in our area were not planted this spring and are now full of weeds. It is the nature of soil to produce plants. And if we don’t cultivate and intentionally plant certain plants, others will come and fill in.

One of the things we can do for the soil on a year like this is to plant different species as cover crops. This both keeps the weeds at bay and allows us to experiment with crops and combinations of crops we haven’t grown before. This field was a pasture/hay field for many years, but next year it is slated to have beans planted. In an effort to get ready for that, we plowed and disced the field. We worked it several times, because established pasture does not go quietly.

Once we were satisfied with the seedbed, we planted sorghum and peas in part of the field. The rest is planted with oats, peas, clover and turnips. This will hopefully keep the weeds to a minimum, as well as provide additional forage for our animals to graze. 

Now we just need some more rain on our freshly-seeded field.


  1. Interesting experiment, especially the turnips. How did you choose?

    1. Our daughter helped us by advising on species that would be high in bio-mass (good growth), and/or good nitrogen-fixers for next year's crop, as well as good forage for the sheep and cattle. The turnips specifically were chosen because they hold on to their nutritional quality even after the killing frosts. This allows us to graze later in the season, perhaps even into the winter.


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