Saturday, February 13, 2010

Week of February 15 2010 : Farm in a Box

(Here is a photo of all the seeds that will become this summer's market vegetables. There are forty three seed packets and bags in the box. That is a 747 jet in the background just to give you some perspective on size. Thankfully I made no attempt to track how much time I spent researching and deciding which 43 varieties to purchase).

Laura posted a photo of her Vegetable Jambalaya, which featured vegetables from last summer's market garden. This time last year, those tasty vegetables where nothing more than seed packets waiting in my grow room. During the course of the growing season, I will share with you how we transform these seed packets into vegetable jambalaya.

The big bag in the middle may be my favorite seed: New Zealand White Clover.

White clover is a versatile cover crop. I grow it primarily between the cash crop rows. The clover can be frost seeded very early in the season; thus it has a chance to germinate first and establish a canopy to smoother weeds.

During the season, the clover stabilizes soil temperature and moisture. White clover, like sweet clover, does not flower until its second year, so neither attracts beneficial insects such as bees during the first year. But it offers protection for other beneficial insects that happen to be there. The clover also reduces splashing during rain storms. This means cleaner vegetables and more importantly suppresses the spread of disease.

At the end of the season, the clover is incorporated into the soil. This adds nitrogen and plenty of organic matter to the soil. I always inoculate the seed to ensure nitrogen fixation. The clover dies easily without herbicides the first year; after clover survives a winter then it becomes very persistent and can survive plowing.

This year, I am considering underseeding my broccoli and cabbage with clover. How exciting is clover !!!

Yes I know clover is not very tasty, even the cloverphile woodchucks prefer the vegetables over clover. I will be sure to share the rest of the seeds in the 'farm in a box' with you too.

1 comment:

  1. I love the cover crop between rows idea! Looking forward to seeing pics of this come Spring.