New Production Plot
New production plot, potatoes in the foreground will be next year’s (2018) plot
Our land is smothered by smooth brome (Bromus inermus). To better establish new production plots, we grow vegetables for three years before seeding native species. We start by solarizing the new garden with clear plastic before planting the first vegetables the following year. This eliminates most of the smooth brome and gives us three years to reduce the annual weeds like buffalo bur and amaranth.
In the 2017 plot pictured above I seeded Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), Junegrass (Koeleria macrantha), Carex gravida, Bee balm (Monarda fistulosa), and Candle Anemone (Anemone cylindrica). These are all somewhat shade tolerant. This wasn’t a great vegetable garden because it lies west of a small grove of trees on slope rising above it. The sun doesn’t reach all of it until late morning and then it is full sun through late afternoon. The only advantage to this location is available moisture because it lies in a large swale. In fact you could see where runoff had eroded it slightly early in the spring. I have seen all of the plants listed above except for the Anemone. Below are some pictures of seedlings and weeds to be pulled.
Junegrass and Black-eyed Susan
Kentucky bluegrass, weeded
Bee balm seedling
Vervain (Verbena stricta) and Buffalo bur to be removed
Red root pigweed before removal
Probably Scribner’s panicum, not seeded but a welcome addition
View of the plot during weeding
I’ll update this post as the plot develops. Unfortunately, the farm is in the first stages of drought and I fear this will slow plant development and survival but such is the life of a farmer. It’s tempting to water it but I want to see how the drought affects each species’ development and weed pressure.
After a little rain some of the wildflowers really popped. Some of the yarrow and black-eyed Susan bloomed this first year. The primrose blooming germinated last fall and some of the vervain showed up when the plot was still in vegetables.
One month later and the wildflowers popped after 1″ of rain.
Deervetch, Lotus purshianus, an annual legume with pink flowers and dagger like seed pods in front of blackeyed Susan
One week later the weeds exploded after the rain. Sandbur, seen below, is an annual grass common to sandy, well-drained soils. They are easy to identify after the seed head emerges and before that by noting their flattened profile.
Sandbur and poverty grass proliferated on the east and shadiest edge of the plot.
After weeding the Junegrass finally gets some light!
More updates to come!