[permaculture] Vegetable crops to follow sod/grass

Lawrence F. London, Jr. venaurafarm at bellsouth.net
Wed Jan 5 18:54:19 EST 2011

On 1/5/2011 5:47 AM, sam bucus wrote:
> Hi, This spring i will be developing a property in Maine, zone 5,
> within a mile fo the coast, foggy, cool summer temps.
> We will be starting from an overgrown field with weedy
> sod/grass/perennial "weeds".
> Our primary objective will be using cover crops to bring the weeds
> under control before implementing a permaculture plan with mostly
> tree/shrub crops.

This is a good plan and is manageable, the weeds, that is.
Are you doing this by hand or with a) rototiller b) tractor drawn 

> However, we will be doing a rather tradtional veggie plot using some
> regular old raised beds. Can anyone offer any advice on what crops
> would do best following sod? We are looking largely to do as many
> storage crops as we can (potatoes, winter squash, carrots, beets,
> etc.)

Read this document, especially the beginning half:

Gardening Hand Tool Sourcelist

Biointensive Gardening Guide and Farm & Garden Hand Tool Sourcelist

Permanent No-Till Biointensive Double-Dug Raised Bed Garden Preparation 
and Handtool Information & Sourcelist

Amend your soil as you disturb it, i.e. invert or till under the sod.

Then you should be able to do well with just about any crop suitable for 
your climatic zone given adequate light and water.

> but I have also read about a lot of problems from pests in
> addition to the unimproved soil.

I would not worry about that.

> The soil is silty loam at 0-7 inches moving to silty clay at 65
> inches. Its main restrictive feature is that it holds water quite
> late into the spring. According to a Kinsey Ag soil report the pH is
> 5.8, humus content 4.1%, and called for additions of protein meal,
> sulfur, rock phosphate, dolomite, potash sulfate, borax, manganese,
> copper and zinc sulfate.

Do not add specific minerals or trace elements. Ex. if your soil is 
deficient in sulphur then add some to it otherwise it will lower soil 
pH. Other than that adding a combination of high calcium lime, dolomitic 
lime and aragonite in carefully measured amounts will raise soil pH, 
hopefully to the optimum level of about 6.3-6.8. Beneficial soil 
microorganisms will help adjust soil pH to plant-optimal levels.

> Over the long run we have a good soil improvement program going. But
> does anyone have any suggestions for putting in right after sod?

You would probably benefit from amending your soil with the following 
commonly used materials:

azomite  trace minerals
greensand  k + trace minerals
rock or colloidal phosphate  p
manure n.p.k
compost  n,p,k
granulated or liquid seaweed

alfalfa meal
feather meal
crab waste
blood meal
fish meal
fish emulsion

1) any kind of IM, EM, ACT, various other compost teas, fermented plant 
extracts and similar soil amendments
2) any particular types of compost made up of varying ingredients
3) commercially available organic soil amendments:
all sorts of quarry rock dusts: pyrophyllite, granite, basalt, feldspar, 
other (volcanic tuff)
oyster shell
pulverized seashell meal
hi cal lime
fish meal
crab waste
seaweed, dry or liquid
blood meal
manures of all sorts
rock or colloidal phosphate
dolomitic lime
soybean meal
alfalfa meal
4) irrigation and drainage strategies
5) cropping methods:
wide beds
raised beds
random pattern broadcast seeding of tilled soil for field crops (Middle 
Ages method perhaps)

> Thanks, Sam

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