Our summer garden has been surprisingly difficult. We’re hoping to get a fresh start with the fall garden.
Amanda has already begun sneaking in plants that are really more “fall” than summer. She’s planted new cherokee purple tomatoes, eggplant, and nearly every unclaimed spot on the west side is getting planted in purple hull peas. But we’ve agreed that Row 6 will be dedicated to the fall garden, so we needed to make way for it.
We planted sunn hemp on rows 1-6 on June 14, and it’s grown nicely. On a couple of rows, it’s to the height of my eye now, almost 6 feet tall. And that’s after only 43 days in the ground. Our plan is to let it grow for at least 60. As we’ve already discussed, of course, Veg Hill is not all created equal, so there are plenty of areas on the east side where the sunn hemp is nowhere near that tall and apparently will never be.
But I digress. Amanda wants to plant the bulk her fall garden the first week of August (actually she would love to have planted it this week, but she’s away from the farm). So on Sunday morning before church we cut down the sunn hemp.
Ideally, in the no-till organic system we use, a cover crop would be crimped into the soil with some kind of sharp pressing blade. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work for us, because we have thin (read that easily damaged) drip tape right up on the surface of the soil. We thought about using a string trimmer, but the sunn hemp is pretty tough, so it would have taken a long time beating at it with the string trimmer to bring it down. Our solution was to cut the sunn hemp with a hedge trimmer. The operation went fairly smoothly.
Now we wait for several days to see if the sunn hemp tries to grow back. If it does, we’ll have to treat it as a weed and try burying it in mulch and/or using the weeding hoe, an operation we REALLY hope to avoid.
The video runs a little less than five minutes, with Amanda narrating.