Greetings, gardeners! What’s happening in your fields and gardens and window boxes right now? I know some of you out there are at a loss for what to do. Spring crops like sweet peas, sweet leafy greens, and shelling peas are long gone. And while we’re feasting on the bounty of the first tomatoes, peppers, and melons, not to mention all the summer flowers bursting into life, it can be hard to stay inspired to take on new projects. But I’ve got three concrete ideas for you to jump on, right now!
Experiment with Cover Crops
If you’ve got some empty space (perhaps the remnants of a spring crop), why not sow some cover crop to feed your soil and prevent weeds? Buckwheat is great and easy go-to summer cover crop. It’s a go-to for many farmers who have a quick opportunity to rest one of their fields by planting a summer cover crop, yet they have another crop that needs to be planted in a timely manner. Buckwheat grows and flowers quickly, and you can mow it and till or fork into your soil after just about a month. Going out of town for a month and didn’t plant anything in the garden? It’s a great opportunity to throw down some buckwheat (just ask your neighbor to water it from time to time).
Mulch Those Corners and Edges
The goal with your plants is to encourage deep roots with plentiful water and retain moisture by any means possible. Covering the soil surface with a 3-4″deep layer of mulch will do the trick. This will do wonders to hold moisture in your soil, not to mention it will help with weed control in your garden.
Never Too Late To Compost
We’ve talked about the value of compost and how to make the most out of compost brought in by the bag or truck load, as well as experimenting with making it on a small scale at home. Anytime you are pulling one crop out of the garden, it’s a good idea to spread about 1 – 3” of compost on top of your soil and fork it in to at least the top layer of ground. If you’re taking crops out now and aren’t even sure yet what you’ll do with that garden space (cover crop it? Grow more crops? Let it lie fallow?), add compost anyway!