These peas are in a cup because they germinate much better if I soak them overnight. I find they enjoy a glass that has been sanitized with a single malt neat. This seems to work with all the big fleshy legumes: beans and peas. I mentioned the peas last week because I’d been worried about birds. One variety has come up. The other is taking a bit longer, probably because the seed is two years old. So I soaked some seeds to fill in.
Speaking of pea in a cup, I am growing grass. Last year my neighbor gave me some ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum) to use as a green manure. Green manures are great for protecting soil in the winter and building organic matter. A legume will also build nitrogen for you, but you have to give it plenty of time to grow fat root nodules. N.B. this is not generally regarded as a compliment, “you sure have fat root nodules my dear.”
My big experiment with a legume as green manure didn’t work so well. I grew hairy vetch (Vicia villosa). My wife always said this sounded like a bad salesman, but it grew like crazy and was covered in pretty flowers.
Manures have to be turned in and rotted before you can really plant again. If they start growing again or go to seed, they will become weed problems. With Harry Vetch this proved quite a problem. I planted in August and by May of the next year I had a tangled two foot high mess. It took hours of fighting to subdue it and I continued to have hairy vetch as a weed for years.
Ryegrass shouldn’t be as a big a problem, but I was a bit nervous. So I planted only one bed. This weekend I decided to turn it in so that I can plant in late May — five weeks should be enough.
I broke out the broadfork and my favorite new hoe and went to work:
uh oh. It looks like green spiders attacking a pile of manure. Well we can hope.
On my way to work Monday morning I noticed a farmer tilling ryegrass in. On the right is a field before plowing, on the left post plow. Looks a little neater. I think I may need to get a tractor.