The summer is wrapping up, and we have begun to pick the first flowers. This week we were able to do a huge chunk of an ongoing project, the Pollinator Garden. We put in close to 70 plants and we have just one variety of flower left until the garden is complete. During this dry spell, we have been sure to keep a sprinkler running for as long as possible so the freshly planted flowers can settle into their new home. Already we can see pollinators, especially honey bees, stopping by for a visit. We are all excited to see the garden in full bloom!
Though we have spent the majority of the summer at the permaculture site, we have not forgotten about the original Organic Garden (located below the View off route 15). Jess and I went down early Monday morning to sow buckwheat into the beds of the garden. Buckwheat is a mid to late summer cover crop; a cover crop is a sustainable agricultural practice that we have been implementing throughout the year in both sites. Cover crops serve many purposes, foremost being their benefit to soil health. As plants grow, they take up nutrients from the soil. Because we harvest our vegetables so we can gain energy by eating them, the soil does not gain those nutrients back - putting a bed or field in cover crop allows the soil to rest and replenish its stores. Because we will not harvest buckwheat as a crop, after cutting we can leave the plant on the beds to act as a 'green manure' which will break down and put even more nutrients back into the soil. Cover crops like buckwheat have other benefits as well, including preventing erosion, maintaining moisture content, and attracting beneficial insects. For more information, see Cornell's guide to buckwheat here.