Considering my neglect of the garden during this period of time, I expected Mother Nature to force me to tighten my belt a notch or two by wreaking total havoc on my tasty veggies and herbs. I imagined hard frosts, harsh winds, and cold dry air conspiring against me. I pictured languishing lettuce, crusty carrots, and beat up beets.
What did I find? Beautiful broccoli.
|Calabrese broccoli head approximately 8" in diameter. This plant was grown in a glazed ceramic pot.|
|Calabrese broccoli head.|
What else did I find that I didn't deserve? A cool cover crop.
|Diego standing guard over a 4' x 8' bed of winter rye and hairy vetch cover crop.|
The cover crop is also important for another reason I did not anticipate. Dogs are natural foragers, and my two dogs often ate grass in my previous yard to aid in digestion. By successfully smothering my grass, I unintentionally eliminated one of their favorite diet supplements. Last summer, I often found my dogs sampling different weeds and other greens because they were looking for a suitable substitute for their favorite but now missing forage. As soon as the cover crop germinated and grew, Diego would regularly run over to the bed and dine on selected shoots of Winter Rye. He still does, seems to love the stuff! So in a way, it's a happy system. Soil feeds cover crop; cover crop feeds soil, dog, and future plants; plants feed human; human feeds cover crop to the soil; repeat. My only concern is that Diego doesn't get comfortable dining on whatever he choses from the raised beds. That could be a problem.
Maybe I'll construct a bone-shaped raised bed for dog edibles...then again, maybe not.
The broccoli and cover crops are just two of the many reasons why Diego and I are beginning to appreciate winter gardening more than summer gardening. There is little to do after planting and germination other than to harvest the rewards of Mother Nature. No toiling, no tilling, no sweating.
Many other veggies are doing very well despite my neglect, but I'll save them for another post. Hope all is well in your gardens.