Thing is, to get the cover crop going, I'm going to have to clear out or weaken the weeds that are already established. Since Operation Goat On A Rope can't be implemented until we have a goat to put on said rope, I decided to try an experiment to see which of the following three methods would give the best weed control for the least effort: pulling them out with the field screw and rake, crimping then covering with 6 inches of leaves or crimping only.
As you can see from the picture, after a week the row that was only crimped is rife with grasses, sticking straight up like so many middle fingers. This is probably not going to be sufficient to give my cover crops the advantage they need to get established; moving on.
The second row, I painstakingly loosened the weeds with my trusty field screw, raked them up for pig food then sowed a mixture of: buckwheat, oats and sorghum to cover things up. None of the cover crop has germinated since I was banking on a typhoon that never came and consequentially didn't water. I expect germination after it finally rains. I'm in no rush. Ultimately, I feel like this approach took about as much time and energy as it took to transfer a 6 inch killer mulch to the next row though this method yielded three heaping wheelbarrows full of pig food.
On the third row, I broke out the hand crimper all over again and pinned down that grass like my name was GSP. I then covered everything with leaves. Some of the leaves in our compost pile are from aleopathic trees (not sure about the English name of this tree species) making this killer mulch extra deadly. True, I may feel pretty dumb when I transplant broccoli into this row and find that aleopathy swings both ways or I might find that brassicas aren't bothered by this particular aleopathic compound. Only experimentation will tell.
Keep you all updated!
This is copy pasted from my blog after some adjusting some of the more colorful language and similies to something more appropriate. To see the original post and accompanying pictures, visit http://practicalpermie.blogspot.tw/2015/10/experiment-in-clearing-overgrown-bed.html
Rose Pinder wrote:What is crimping? Any idea what the weeds were? eg invasive perennial grasses with runners?
Glad you asked. Crimping is simply breaking the stem without severing it. Think about a plastic straw. It bends only so much until it crimps. For most annual plants, crimping their stems is enough to kill them. I highly recommend the link i provided for learning more details about this method. They did a really good job describing it and provided some pretty clear pictures. That is, in fact, the site where I learned to make a hand crimper (as opposed to the tractor mounted roller-crimpers that large farms use.
You hit the nail on the head with perenial running grass. That is the most prominent and troublesome weed we have. There are also clumping grasses and a wide range of things I either cant identify or cant name in English as they dont grow in English speaking countries as far as i know.
Susan Doyon wrote:Do not put your goat on a rope unless you will stay with it to protect it . is is a sad thing to loose a goat to a coyote or dog, takes only a moment for a predetor to hamstring a goat or sheep . They rely on you to protect them, use livestock panels move them as the goat clears an area .
It is always nice to have an experienced permie help us to head off a problem before it occurs. thank you, Susan.
experience comes from seeing what works and what does not , the bad decisions that cost an animals life are hard to deal with but the least I can do is try to help another from making a similar error , My doe was fenced with a too low fence . I was only indoors a few moments it was a neighbors husky cross that got her . the guilt of knowing I left her where she could be attacked was horrid . the vet bills were huge and the doe after 3 days in my kitchen with constant care could not be saved, and the vet had to put her down . hard lesson to learn . it was many years ago when I first got angora goats but typing about it it feels like yesterday .