Flower Meadow One year Later

In my original post about preparing the soil for our flower garden, I never posted how the experiment turned out--one plot using the Lasagna method and the other plot using the cover crop method. So I thought I would try to sum it all up in as few words as possible.

I was excited about the Lasagna method because I thought it would solve so many problems, mainly keep weeds at bay, not having to use herbicides. I could use the no-till method of gardening and build up the kind of soil best for the plants I would be growing. It ended up not being as weed free as I had hoped. I did plant in the plot the first year, which was not recommended. It is suggested that you let the area sit for a year, allowing the cardboard to decompose and the soil and amendments build up in the area. So when the plants that I planted in 2019 didn't do very well, I attributed it to planting in the area too soon. However, I am in my second year (2020) and the flowers in that same area seem to be somewhat stunted, not very healthy and are not as tall as I anticipated.

This is my first year of planting in the area that had been prepared with a cover crop (Crimson Clover). After seeing how well our flowers are doing in this plot, I think this is our favorite method: After mowing the grasses as low as we could, we covered the area with plastic for about 3 months, tilling about 3-5 inches deep to loosen the grasses and the top of the soil, raking up the hay, adding some good soil and aged manure and then planting crimson clover (cover crop) in the spring of 2019, cutting it down by fall and leaving most of it sit over the winter. This spring (2020) we tilled it slightly into the soil. We decided to use landscape fabric, burning 3" holes in the fabric to plant seeds and the seedlings I had started around March and April. It is amazing how large the plants can grow with just having a 3 inch hole in the fabric where I planted seeds and seedlings. Using a cover crop seems to be the thing these days, since farmers are trying to do less tilling. It does take longer than just tilling deep in the soil, but over all no-till and using a cover crop creates better soil in the long run..

We have started a third plot, having planted crimson clover in June. We are now cutting it down and will let it sit over the winter. We will then plant in that area in the spring of 2021.

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