From my driveway I can see three forsythia bushes. They are splits from one that used to be too close that I transplanted when we first moved into this house. I placed them so when you top the hill driving in a car and start coming down there are square in the middle of the view. They are enjoying the mild November weather and have some sporadic blooms on them.
I see an odd dandelion in bloom here and there also. Just a reminder that the yet unmanifest winter won’t last forever.
I planted a mix of radishes and Austrian winter peas for a ground cover. Here it is in full glory, edible leaves still vibrant as of today.
I was too lax calibrating the seed when I planted it, just grabbing a few handfuls and tossing them out, and badly overseeded it. Which meant that the radishes crowded out the winter peas. You can see some peas if you look closely but they survived not thrived.
The plus side is the radishes also crowded out the winter weeds so that is a good thing but next year I need to measure the bed, then weigh out the seed so I get closer to the recommended rate.
With rye or oats I just toss them out and do want it a little thick because it is for green manure and not harvest, but those radish seeds are exponentially smaller than the cereal grains so I blew it going the Zen route of grab and go with the flow.
Here is a picture of the same mix planted outside the fence.
It grew pretty well for the first two months it was planted, August and September, but once October arrived I could see the tops grazed off from 18″ (46 cm) high by about a third. In the past two weeks it has been grazed to the ground.
Not only did I lose the surface green biomass (the roots will still provide a lot) but the deer have done a lot of structural damage with their hooves in effect working the clay soil while it is wet.
In net I may have been better off to not plant this mix where the deer can access it. They bother rye but not to this extent.
I have two plots outside the fence I rotate potatoes in. The problem with rye is that it has to be dealt with in the spring before you can plant potatoes. The Groundbreaker mix winter kills and mulches the winter garden bed but is not in the way for early spring turning under.
When you turn a cover crop under, it ties up all the available soil nitrogen for a couple of weeks in the early stages of decomposition. All that plus becomes available after two weeks, but it isn’t the best to have that delay when you are dodging wet soils and trying to get in an early potato crop.
Next year I will try oats for the potato beds. They come on in the fall but winter kill so they are out of the way in the spring.