NLF Update 7/13

I hear a faint whirring and I see Mike steadily marching along, turning the crank of our broadcast seeder. Arcs of Rye seed fling out in front of him, seeds scatter and fall, coating the bare ground.

In the spring, we plowed three large plots in our new field, more space then we need for the veggies we are growing this season. We ran our disc harrow through two of the plots  until sod broke down and we could plant with beans, tomatoes and more.

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The third plot was seeded with peas and oats to smother weeds and build soil structure and fertility. This cover crop grew thick and lush, pea vines tangling around sturdy oats. We mowed it in before this intentional planting could go to seed and become a weed. I cut paths through the crop with the tractor, tall grasses brushing my legs, the dense walls on each side giving me intense pleasure or pride. The beauty of it was striking, and there was sadness in cutting it down and in seeing the insects and other creatures fleeing their temporary habitat.

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But after waiting a few weeks for the oats and peas to break down, Mike is planting again. Rye and clover will grow tall in place of the oats and peas. Clover will fix more nitrogen in the field and Rye will increase organic matter. New creatures will make the new cover crop their home.

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