Thank you for all your interest in the changes I’m implementing in the front yard! I realize it looks a bit messy at the moment, but I’m hoping that by this time next year you’ll see a gorgeous edible landscape. 🙂
Here’s what’s going on:
Back when I tilled the yard in the spring, I sowed a mix of sudan grass and clover. Sudan grass is great at breaking up clay soil with an extensive root system and clover fixes nitrogen from the air into the soil.
When the opportunity came along, I flagged down the workers cutting trees back from the power lines in our neighborhood and asked them to dump the chips in my yard. Wood from branches less than 2 inches in diameter have a more balanced amount of nitrogen than chips from further down the trunk, and as such you can see the cover crops already peeking through the mulch. If I’d used chips from a tree removal, the excess carbon would have pulled nitrogen away from the plants and you’d see them yellowing rather than growing back.
We’ve inoculated the mulch with king stropharia mushroom spawn, which will help break down the wood and support a healthy soil food web. You may notice there are a few spaces we haven’t mulched. We left our garden beds open since we’re harvesting from them regularly. Just below the garden beds we’ve planted sweet potatoes, and that area has no mulch since it would be difficult to mulch that space without damaging the sweet potato leaves in the process. And to the right of the garden beds we’ve left a section empty as an experiment – the larger a plant grows, the more extensive the root system. By cutting the cover crops back every few weeks, I’m limiting the root development of the plants in the name of adhering to code. But in this section, next to the garden, I’ve decided to let the cover crops grow and collect some seed. I’ll be very curious to see the difference in soil between the mulched space and the small areas that are just cover crops.
What’s coming up:
Later this fall the maple tree is coming down. I hate to take down such a gorgeous tree, but the roots are invading the sewer line. And without the tree, we’ll have enough sunlight for berries and a small orchard. We’ll be installing new raised beds near the house and hopefully we’ll have enough soil to put in our fruit trees and berries this winter. So by this time next year, we should have a much more attractive and tasty front yard!