Cover crop measurements have continued over the winter. The hybrid treatment (annual ryegrass) will be sprayed out early September ahead of strip tilling to allow for the creation of a stale seed bed. The conventional treatment (annual ryegrass) will be sprayed out three weeks prior to planting. The regenerative treatment (oats, vetch and lupins) will not be sprayed out at all, and instead we will mow the cover crop and plant seedlings direct into the mulch (see last month’s newsletter for more details).
While lots of folks have been sunning themselves in Europe or Fiji, we have been counting and weighing slugs… We are measuring relative slug activity using upside down pot plant bases, and there is a large range of slug numbers, from zero to eight per lid after being left for a few days. Since slugs could pose a threat to our small tomato seedlings, especially in the areas we aren’t cultivating, we are looking at control options.
We have conducted a weed survey to look at weed populations in each plot, and record weed spectrum. We will complete more of these through the season to see if the different management practices used in each plot change the weed spectrum over time. We counted and identified weeds in a 0.5m x 0.5m quadrat four times in each plot.
We have measured cover crop biomass pre-spray out and pre-grazing. We are in the process of drying samples to calculate dry matter percentage. Subsamples have been sent to Hill Labs to complete nitrogen and carbon percentages.
Last Friday we had a delivery of lambs to graze the conventional treatment. The lambs will be rotating around our four conventional plots for the next few weeks.
Come and see for yourself on Wednesday 6 September – free registration via Eventbrite.