Thursday, July 9, 2015

Thursday Snapshot: Soba (buckwheat) in the Garden

Soba going strong between the board path and the old potato bed.
It has been a busy month of reading for me. I reviewed a copy of Elizabeth Murphy's Building Soil for Permaculture Magazine (subscribers will see it first, so I won't give anything away except to say read it) and read Gary Nabhan's Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land for another project I'm currently working on. Both were inspiring and action-packed (in a farmy-gardeny sort of fashion) and, as often happens, had a direct impact on my work in the garden.

Murphy recommended soba (buckwheat) as a cover crop for its rapid growth, attractiveness to pollinators, and because it pulls phosphorous up from the soil. (Phosphorous is handy for photosynthesis and other growing abilities that plants have.) It grows densely, too, which means weeds have a hard time joining the party. Buckwheat's lovely white blossoms attract pollinators who will also hopefully have a wander over to the cucumbers shortly thereafter.

So, I planted some soba. The plan is to enjoy it while it lasts, pull it before it goes to seed, and leave it to decompose in place. The potato bed is an active compost heap now that the potatoes are gone, so I'm experimenting with a few different ideas. My plan is to turn it into a bed for greens come September. We'll see what happens.

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