On Not Haying Your Field

Right now the neighbors hayed field looks like a perfectly manicured green lawn a few acres large. Mine is this crazy overgrown mess you see to the left. For a few days it was dry enough that the hill catching fire and destroying our home was a real concern, but in Vermont, there are literally only a handful of days when you can set a field on fire (trying to set fire to field intentionally is impossible most of the year). We are a wet state so fires are not our main concern. If they were, I would have to hay the field for that alone.

But as I mentioned before there are some benefits to letting nature be nature as She generally knows what she's doing a lot better than we do. For example, I was hoping the 10 acres of perennial witch grass would diversify as other plants got to set seed (like milkweed, which is essential for the endangered monarch). What I did not count on is how quickly this self mulching system would operate. Yes, this thick mulch has slowed down growth, which, since we are still mostly talking about witch grass, is a good thing. But the most fabulous discovery is this: last year, digging up the field was a painful chore involving thick tenacious matts of witch grass roots.

A 1 woman project - turning a field into a garden

The digging is easier because I traded my spade in for a digging fork, but it is also easier, because this mulched field has supported a lot more earth worms and most of the roots and some of the rhizomes are just gone, turned into crumbly earth. So it is still a carpet of witch grass that given a chance would spread out and re-conquer, but it is definitely hampered and much easier to pull out. Yahoo.

This sod is good for some things though. I am building short sod walls to act as wind blocks as wind is our enemy number one in the garden.

As to witch grass, I can't say too many bad things about it as it is medicinal (for urinary tract issues) and my kitty LOVES it. It is his favorite medicine.

Galileo LOVES Witch Grass

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