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Winter wheat and barren soil

 
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Hello. A few months ago, I planted some wheat that need to be sown in autumn in a small spot of my garden (about 100sq feet). It's raising seemingly nicely, but I have a problem with the spot: it's barren. My fault, as I tilled the spot and removed any plant visible.

The problem is, not only it took some time, but now the soil is exposed (so weather will wash the minerals, compact the soil, erode it, etc).

I have two questions.

What could I have done better than tilling and removing all the plants already there, if anything better was possible, to grow my wheat ?

Then, now that there is only wheat, but sparsely, can I plant something else, like maybe white clover to cover the ground, protect it ? Or is it too late ?

Thanks !
 
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It sounds like you didn't plant it tight enough, it should have tillered by now and the soil would be least 50% covered. I wouldn't put anything in with the wheat now unless you really have huge gaps between the plants, it will fill in on it's own.
 
Mike Lafay
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I didn't have a lot of seeds, and tried to follow the recommendation as to how to sow them; but as I did by throwing handful of theme and then rake to cover the seeds. Should i have sown each seed individually ? Just to be clear, it's in a small space (100sq feet). The only information I found about that would be for large monoculture field, or for something that's already rolling, like Fukouka style of rice, barley and clover.
 
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I've got some winter rye going I planted in rows about a foot apart.  For small plots like these, I think rows is the way to go, but probably tighter than I did.  I went back and added some field peas between some of my rows, and scattered some clover in others.  The rye rows appear to be doing great, the field peas coming up nicely, the clover is a bit pathetic so far.

Interplanting shouldn't be a big deal if you do something low that can handle some shade.  One of the low clovers would work, I'd expect.  

But, yeah, I agree the wheat should tiller out.

Today I planted three rows of oats in a couple 30" x 50' beds with two rows of field peas between them.  They are just a cover crop for 6 weeks or so until I'm past last frost. Not going for any production in the beds.  Hoping to get some rye from that rye plot though.

Doing rows should be more seed efficient than broadcasting.  At least that's what my research said.  "Small-scale Grain Raising" by Logsdon is a great resource.
 
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I use a deer plot mix which has oat, wheat, or rye as the base and then peas, brassicas and clover are in the bag with it.

I did a little testing this year. Seed covered with a light hay mulch did just as well as the test strips i tilled. Mulching your area would be relatively easy with a few balea of hay.

I am still adding seeds to the ground. I am spreading seed then placing the cows hay over it. They spread it out for me. I plan to do this continually, just change the seed mix between seasons. In areas of little topsoil i set out a round bale to concentrate the mulch. If it is on better grounds i roll out the roundbale. When rolled out it is pretty amazing. In about 6 weeks you can no longer see the mulch.
 
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For now I would mulch the bare soil, you can also lay down clover seeds prior to spreading the mulch, this will let the wheat plants get a head start on the clover so you have a blended crop instead of wheat covered by the clover.
In this particular instance, yellow clover would be the best choice since it starts off slow then gains speed once it can get enough sunlight, usually at the harvest time of the wheat, rye or other grains.

You could also, as Wayne suggested, use a premade blend like a deer plot mix, since it will have a broad variety of plants that are all good cover crops and will play nice with your already planted wheat.

Redhawk
 
Mike Lafay
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The wheat has already sprouted, and is about 2/3 of a feet tall, so would planting clover or a mix now be the right thing to, but without mulching ? I don't have a lot of things to use for mulching left.

I have some green manure to plant: white clover, lotus corniculatus, phacelia, melilotus, camelina and borage ? Which ones of them could do for wheat ? I guess borage would not because of the space it takes.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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I'd start with the white clover and add any other that has lower type growing habits. Borage could work around the border area as it matured but if you plan to chop and drop it could cover any open spaces.

Redhawk
 
Mike Lafay
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Thanks you for your reply. I'll sow some white clover in march then, and will see about adding some borage too. Maybe I could use the one in this bed exclusively for cut and drop.
 
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