Wild Pasture Cultivation and Perennial Grains

Back in October of last year, I wondered if we grew annual or perennial grains.  Well, the results are mixed.  The rye was 100% perennial; the wheat was mixed; and the buckwheat was annual.

At the same time, I was thinking about how to get the grains out of the raised beds into the field.

With the rye clearly being perennial, I needed to transplant it out of the raised bed in order to make room for more seeding and seedlings.

I decided to take two approaches.  The first is described below and is designed to improved the fertility of the soil before the rye is transplanted.  It is a longer process requiring one season before the area will be ready.  The second approach is faster with less fertility improvement.  I will describe it in a later post.

Last fall, a small area was scythed and then covered in grass clippings to a depth of about 12 inches.

At the end of April, 2013, I covered the area with flakes of straw. The material under the straw is the dried remains of last fall’s grass clippings.

Then the straw was covered with semi-decomposed leaves & grass clippings.

On top of that was added a 4 inch thick cover of mature compost into which peas would be planted. You can see the peas at the top of the picture.

A month later, the peas were established with no sign of weeds

June 3, 2013 – A mulch of grass clippings to retain moisture in the soil. Still no weeds.

The germination of the peas could have been better. Perhaps the thin skin of mature compost was not kept moist enough.  Hopefully, this cover combined with the mulch will keep the weeds down.

The next step will be to scythe the peas just as they begin to flower so that the nitrogen is kept in the roots and made available to the soil.  If legumes are allowed to flower and then seed, most of the nitrogen fixed from the air by the plant is used up. Only about 20% is left for enriching the soil.

When the peas are scythed down, buckwheat will be planted into the green mulch.

More pictures.

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2 Responses to Wild Pasture Cultivation and Perennial Grains

  1. flo says:

    do you have any perennial rye seeds that you’d be willing to share?

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