The above two are obviously labor-intensive, involving an attack on a tough living sod with hand tools. (Don’t think it will be much easier with a power tiller. I have many times attacked a robust rye cover with a power tiller—the job took about as long as with the hand tools, the tiller was noisy and stinky, and it beat me half to death! I prefer hand-to-plant combat.) There is an easy way to turn that cover crop in, however. Let your flock of chickens do it! You do have a flock, don’t you? If not, and if it is at all possible for you to have one on your homestead, you would find there are a number of ways to use the flock to help with the work of the garden, the orchard, and other homestead projects. When I want to “chicken-till” a plot with a cover crop, I set a small portable shelter in the middle and surround it with electric net fencing energized by a solar-powered fence charger. I feed, water, and collect eggs—exactly as I would if they were on the pasture, or even locked in a henhouse—and forget about breaking my back with that cover crop. The chickens do what chickens love to do—scratch, and scratch, and scratch. They never tire, they don’t break down, they don’t require gas and oil, and the sounds they make are much more pleasant than a tiller. After a week or two—varying with the type of cover, the size of plot, and the number of birds—they completely turn in the cover crop, and I can move them elsewhere and plant. Please note that in the process they have:
Eaten nutrient-dense foods (living green plants, earthworms, etc.) of a quality I cannot hope to match, boosting their health and vitality.
“Sanitized” the area for slugs and slug eggs. It will be months before the slug population can recover to damaging levels.
Tilled in the tough over-winter cover crop while I was busy with other projects.
Incorporated their droppings, now finely dispersed, boosting the biological activity in the top few inches of soil and hastening the breakdown of the cover crop. (Talk about multi-tasking!)
Right now we are fighting off the encroachment of Stockton. Still a lot of orchards and vineyards--olives are being planted widely too. I wasn't aware of its apiary history. It is pretty in the spring with all the fruit trees blossoming,
I'll order enough--I think it is for cool weather. I couldn't order on line yesterday--it wouldn't go through, so they called today and said that there was a problem on the site. You have to put in a date--like tomorrow--instead of ASAP. But they were hoping to fix it.
I'll check the weather--everything is divided up into cool and warm season--I need cool too.
if I remember right it said on the omega 3 to plant after all chance of frost. said something that in the mix if a frost got to it it is toxic to horses. So I couldnt plant that as we have 2 wanna be horses. I need to figure out something soon I have about 100 by 100 area I can plant something in there.
i would plant in about a month. the vetch, fava beans, winter wheat winter rye, etc can be mixed together or you can do patches. they help hold hte soil together over winter, and would proviide much foraging for the chickens. dont' know what they would eat and what they wouldn't, but it is all good. oh, and get mustard too.