I spent a few minutes on a forum today reading a post that I had previously overlooked.
The poster began with, “I’ve been reading up on cover crops and, frankly, the information is overwhelming and somewhat confusing. What I’ve found with gardening (I’m fairly new to it) is that there isn’t ONE right answer. ”
They went on to say they would have a good supply of oak leaves this year and had read “— that you can just layer the top of the garden with shredded leaves over the winter but that seems like it wouldn’t add any nitrogen nor improve the subsoil.”
A couple of long time posters on that forum answered. After reading what they had to say, I couldn’t help but wonder if the person asking the question wasn’t more into overwhelm after they read the answers than they were before they asked.
What They May Have Really Wanted to Know
It’s not that the information given in answer wasn’t good because it was. It just didn’t tell the poster the one thing I think they may have really wanted to know —- and that is: you really can’t do anything wrong. Organic matter is organic matter.
Don’t have to know the Scientific Details
Whether you do cover crops or leaves or some of each —- you’re gonna have great results. Your soil is gonna love that organic matter. You don’t have to know the scientific reasons behind why it works —- you just have to do it.
What I Did and Do
For years, I couldn’t afford to buy seed for cover crops. The only thing that went on top of my soil was garden waste, straw, and lots of leaves. My garden was healthy and successful.
Do I use cover crops now? You bet your boots. I’m thrilled to be able to plant them and they’re taking my garden to a different level with all their many benefits to my soil.
But will my garden fail without them? Heck no it won’t!
Suggested Approach when you feel Overwhelmed
When you’re reading to learn and you start getting into overwhelm because they’re telling you all you have to do —- or this won’t work —- and that won’t work —- and when they start talking about Carbon to Nitrogen ratio of between 40 and 80 to 1 and allopathic effects of various crops and you don’t understand —- just dismiss that information for the moment. Know that you don’t have to understand it now. You’ll understand it in due time as you become more experienced.
Understanding all the Details is NOT a Requirement
Understanding how nature does it (although it’s nice) is not a requirement. Nature will do all the complicated stuff for you. It’s set up that way — you can bank on it.
So if you can get some seed for cover crops —-do it. (I’d recommend buckwheat to start because it’s ultra easy and very beneficial.)
If all you have is leaves — pile those on your beds. Do the best you can do at the moment. Use what you’ve been given and don’t fret over it.
You’re gonna have a great garden next year!
Other Related Posts:
Organic Gardening is easy, effective, efficient —- and it’s a lot healthier.
All content including photos is copyrighted by TendingMyGarden.com. All Rights Reserved.