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Welcome to my to the June version of my monthly newsletter. I hope you all have something growing now. It's been a busy month getting everything in the ground but satisfying to see it all growing now. In my garden, I've already started the harvest of the perennial herbs.

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Planting in a new way

The theme for this months Tips is to think differently about how we establish plants. Conventional wisdom says that you work the soil up before planting. I'm not sure when this became conventional wisdom, but I've forged a different route. I don't just roto-till the garden at the end of the year or work up flower beds that I want to renovate. I look at them each time and try to come up with the best way of accomplishing the goal. When I'm transplanting, I just need the plant to touch the new soil and start growing roots into it. When starting seeds I just need them in moisture and deep enough that they'll germinate and grow.

Grow your own mulch

In this article, I show how I cleared the cover crop away to plant my seeds. This is in a garden but it could apply to a farm scale as well. For late seeded crops, some farmers roll & crimp the rye before seeding (some are even experimenting with after emergence!). For my area, I cut it back at ground level and piled in the centre.

Planting into a green cover crop

Many farmers are experimenting with planting green. Some spray out the crop just prior to planting and some after. For my purposes I was transplanting my warm season crops so I sprayed in advance and then planted. It looks ragged when planting and even for a a while after but its something you need to get used to when switching to this system. I am reaching my goal of having something cover the soil all the time and living roots most of the time.

Transplanting native prairie plants

I wanted to fill some areas of a front flower bed with native plants. Instead of pulling out the grass and ferns, I just killed them and planted directly in. I used RoundUp, but any method could be used as long as the perennials are killed. If I'd had more time, or thought of it in the fall, I could have used cardboard to smoother them out. The dead plants on top give a mulch layer and as the roots decay below they give air and water channels and spaces for the new roots. By not tilling up the soil I don't plant the weed seeds that are sure to be on the surface.

Happy growing!
See you next month,
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Copyright © 2018 Scott C Gillespie Agronomy, All rights reserved.

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