Living in Harmony with Nature and teaching others to garden the natural (organic) way, with emphasis on practices that lead to NUTRIENT DENSE produce!

Harmony Gardens

Harmony Gardens
Bey Home designed by Stitt Energy Systems, Inc. 2002

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Our intent is simple: to provide useful information on gardening, health and sustainability issues. We will include class and meeting announcements, gardening information, and book reviews. The articles that Calvin writes for Garden Thyme, the Master Gardener Newsletter will be included. We will try to make this site easy to use and relevant.

About Me

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Fayetteville, Arkansas, United States
Harmony Gardens is the home of Calvin and Doris Bey. As the name implies our goal is to live in harmony with the Laws of Nature. We are concerned about the envirionment, energy efficiency, organic gardening, alternative health, and sustainability issues. We love our Stitt Energy Systems Inc. energy efficient home, which received a First Place NAHB National Award for 2003. Calvin is a retired USDA Forest Service scientist. Each year he teaches classes in Organic Gardening in February and March and again in September. Doris is a retired RN. Together they coordinate the Fayetteville, Arkansas Chapter of The Weston A. Price Foundation.

August 4, 2015

Winter Cover Crop --Tillage Radish

Organic Gardening and More
 Winter Cover Crop -- Tillage Radish -- A Key to Better Yields
Calvin F. Bey                   CFBey1936@cox.net

                   
When plants extract nutrients from the soil, some of those nutrients go into the produce that we consume, and others remain in the roots, stems, leaves, etc.  As a rule, the more nutrients we can get into the plant the better.  That is why I put so much emphasis on soil testing and fertilizer recommendations for growing Nutrient-Dense produce.  The ultimate goal is always to build up the soil -- with organic matter, minerals and beneficial soil microorganisms.  

One aspect of soil-building includes growing cover crops.  Cover crops take up nutrients, and can store them in an organic form in stems, leaves, etc, for future crop uptake. 

There are many options for which cover crop to plant.  I like Austrian Winter Peas, which fixes nitrogen in the soil, and oats for winter covers.  When planted in mid September,  they make a great winter cover here in NW Arkansas.   

A few years ago, I heard about Tillage Radish as a winter cover crop.  Results look very good, and so I want to try it this fall.  It has many great attributes.

1.   Soil conditioning.  It has deep roots (typically over 30 inches) that break up heavy soils.

2.  Nutrient scavenging. It brings up Nitrogen and other minerals from deep in the soil, stores the minerals in tops and roots and releases them for spring growth.   For crops that follow the tillage radishes, yields  increase.

3.  Adds organic matter to the soil, for improved tilth.

4.  Weed suppression.  It germinates quickly, grows fast (full growth in 30 days) , and makes a great winter weed barrier.

5.  Easy to manage.  Winter kills at 15 - 18 degrees.  Sow at about 6-inch spacing, 4-10 weeks before the expected first fall frost which is about Oct 20.

For additional information, see www.covercropsolutions.com. 

I will order seed in bulk, and have it available for those who want to try this new cover crop.  I hope that many of you will be willing to participate.  If interested, send me an email.   The Tillage Radish seed with specific instructions for fall planting will be available at the September MG meeting.  You can also stop by to get it.  I will also have Austrian Winter Peas and Oats available in small packages. 



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Heirloom "Country Gentleman" Corn