[Market-farming] path cover/green manure

Jeff Cantara jeffcantara at yahoo.com
Mon Feb 28 10:50:10 EST 2005

We have 4 acres of intensely farmed vegetables.  We have had tremendous success with oats and dutch white clover in between plastic mulch rows.  Oats establish very quickly in the spring and smother 90% of the weeds By the time I have mowed the paths twice with a self propelled bagging mower, the clover is forming a dominant canopy and choking out the oats.  The buried plastic edge keeps the clover from spreading too far. That gives me about three months of clover before it gets turned under and seeded to winter rye for the winter.  The key is to seed the oats VERY densely.  I just carry a 5 gallon bucket and sow by hand as I walk along.  Takes a few hours on one day to do all the rows.  Then I mix the clover with coarse sand at about a 1:9 ratio and spread it with a walk behind lawn spreader (one that drops, not broadcasts, its contents).  
We have experimented with annual rye but it does not establish to a density that smothers weeds.   Let me tell you- In August when you compare your living greenmanure paths to your powdery sunbaked bare paths, there is little doubt that this is a good practice.  We had major weed pressure on the property we took over and this has cut our between row cultivation by 90%
New Roots Farm

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