Weed The Soil, Not The Crop
Doug and myself have been having a discussion about a gardening system I use called Weed The Soil Not The Crop. It is described as a bioextensive gardening system. It was developed by Ann and Eric Nordell so they could run a 3 1/2 acre market garden and do this without spending alot of time with a cultivator,hoe or herbicides for weed control and organically increase the fertility of their garden and grow their own mulches.
They designated 7 acres to the garden space,they plant 3 1/2 in vegetables and the other 3 1/2 acres they alternate two cover crops with fallow periods so they can germinate and kill the weeds so they don't have to deal with them in the garden next year.
I started using this system 3 years ago. The space had been in corn for over 12 years and grass and weeds for about 20 years. Most of the area was pure clay without any organic matter or structure.The year before I started using the sysem I coated the ground heavily with horse manure In July I plowed the manure in and tilled the area every week to kill the weeds that had germinated. In August I planted 1/2 in rye and red clover and the second 1/2 in oats and austrian field peas. The oats and field peas winter kill and provide a mulch for the garden half the next spring. There are more benefits to to this system than I can explain here. If you are interested in having a very large garden or market garden you may be interested in this system.
My garden's fertility has increased tremendously and I spend less time weeding each year. We plan on doing a small scale CSA this coming summer. There is a 6 page PDF article on the internet that explains the system better. I searched yahoo for Weed the Soil, Not the Crop to find the article. The Nordells sell a DVD and book that shows the whole program, Email me if you want the cost and address. email@example.com