Cleanup time and cover crops


Coneflower seeds
I started to hack away at the dead plant material accumulating in the front garden today. First up, the Becky shasta daisies and the bee balm. These stems have been brown for a while now and the cleanup is long overdue. I will, however, leave seed heads of plants like coneflowers in place. I've seen the goldfinches perched on these plants multiple times in the past month picking the tastiest seeds.

One large patch of Becky shasta daisies. Looks like it needs some dividing!

This is a combination of Becky shasta daisies, bee balm and
a butterfly bush. First go around complete!
While I focused on plants that needed cutting back, I also trimmed back one of my butterfly bushes. I've been deadheading them regularly all summer so it would continue to produce more flowers. While I usually trim the butterfly bushes back in the spring, I took off a few branches now to avoid breakage over the winter.

I then made a round through the vegetable garden and removed some plants that looked like it was time to go. This included tomatoes, eggplants (they didn't grow well this year due to lack of light) and beans.

The cover crop of winter rye and hairy vetch is taking off.
The cover crop seeds I purchased from High Mowing Seeds (winter rye and hairy vetch) is doing really well in this year's pea and bean bed (seen above). It also has begun to sprout where the strawberry plot used to be and where I grew some tomatoes and peppers this year.

I've decided to plant a cover crop this year in any available spots in the vegetable garden. This way, the cover crop can add nutrients to the soil when I cut it back in the springtime. It will also keep the soil in place over the winter, as opposed to leaving the bed empty with just dirt. (In the past I used buckwheat as a cover crop in the springtime before I planted my summer vegetables.) Even though I may not grow as many vegetables next year along the driveway (sunlight issues), the added nutrients will aid the soil if it becomes a cutting garden instead.

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