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Take up all the parking spaces with Cover Crop: Rye & Vetch at Earthaven Ecovillage

Transcript from video:

Courtney Brooke: Good morning! Happy Beltane!

Remember all that rye? It was like taller than my head. This is all it there in the background. It got mowed down.

The awesome thing about this rye is that it’ a cover crop. So the cover crop here is rye and vetch and they grow together. And the rye is you know making a lot of biomass. You can see there’s just tons and tons and tons of this mulch. Now here this is enough mulch to not have to buy any mulch or import it from somewhere else.

So, it’s growing all the mulch that is needed for this garden and it’s feeding the soil. We’re composting and these other ways that we feed the soil, but also the plants that are growing in the soil are making sugars on their roots. The more that there are plants growing that are making a lot of sugars the more it feeds the soil food web that’s alive in the soil. That’s also another thing that’s happening with the rye and the vetch.

This this kind of rye you have to wait until it’s flowering. If you were to cut it down before it was flowering it would just grow back kind of like your lawn. But, when it puts all of its energy into making this seed head you cut it down then it won’t come back. Now you just have all this beautiful mulch laid right in place. Been feeding the soil all winter, preventing the weeds from growing. This man who grows this rye, Leon, he says something like “you just have to take up all the parking spaces with cover crop.” In other words, you plant the cover crop so thickly that the weeds don’t have anywhere to be and they don’t have any access to the light.

It’s Beltane right now, officially getting into the heat of summer. This cover crop was planted in the fall, after the winter or fall crops came out of the garden. It’s a sight to behold. When I look at it, it just feels so good in my eyeballs.
So, thank you, rye.
Thank you, vetch.
Thank you, Leon, for taking good care of it like that.

cover crop, Leon, mulch, soil fertility


Courtney Brooke

Courtney Brooke (she/her) is a Social Ecologist, Regenerative Designer, and educator whose work aims to reconnect people with a sense of belonging to place. Her work in the world aims to address the root cause of today’s overwhelming ecological challenges – that humans are starved of a sense of belonging to the places they live. Courtney Brooke was raised on a small farm in North Georgia, and has been guided by a lifetime of living close to the land. Her greatest teachers have been the Appalachian Mountains, the land of Aotearoa, and Selu, the Corn Mother. She holds a degree in Ecology from the Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia, and has 10 years of experience facilitating earth-based education, ecological landscape design, women’s rites of passage, and cultural healing. Courtney Brooke has taught and facilitated environmental education curriculum, Deep Ecology, Permaculture Design Courses, hands-on craft and farming workshops, and Holistic Management to a wide range of audiences in nine countries from toddlers to adults and everyone in between. Deeply committed to spreading the healing that comes from belonging to the places we live, Courtney Brooke is passionate about designing learning opportunities that celebrate life. She lives at Earthaven Ecovillage where she tends the land, raises food, participates in communal ritual agriculture, swims in wild water, enjoys the mysterious blessing of being alive, and tends her own wild Hearth. She loves cooking home-grown and wild foraged foods, playing her flute to the sunrise, running on mountain trails, making compost piles, crafting from natural materials, and bringing people together to create beauty that feeds the holy.

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