A living laboratory for a sustainable human future.

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 an ancestor who was 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get an inside look at THREE Earthaven Ecovillage homes.

Sign up for the newlsetter and get an exclusive video tour.

* indicates required

Upcoming Events

Virtual Earthaven Tour

Saturday, September 10 @ 2 – 4 pm EST

There’s nothing like experiencing ecovillage life first hand, but taking a virtual tour of Earthaven is a close second! 

The tour highlights ways in which Earthaven is striving to be a holistic, sustainable culture. The introductory overview tour examines the concept of sustainability at Earthaven through social, ecological, and economic lenses. Not only will you get a glimpse of what has worked through time, but also hear about what has been challenging. And you will have a chance to ask questions!

Earthaven Ecovillage Experience Week

July 31 - August 6, 2022

Join the homesteads, farms, and businesses of Earthaven Ecovillage for a hands-on, skill-building immersion in sustainable and climate-resilient community life. A residential service learning immersion in our unique community laboratory.

Boys with chickens

Eco-Explorers Adventure Week

August 1-5, 2022

This day camp is designed to develop ecological literacy, gain practical life skills, and build meaningful friendships, and is also open to commuters.

Commute or bring your 6-12 year-old kids to Eco-Explorers Adventure Week for an age-appropriate ecovillage experience while you participate in Earthaven Ecovillage Experience Week.

Compassion Camp

August 18-22, 2022

Our annual event focused on Nonviolent Communication, featuring classes and experiential learning. An experience designed to foster compassion and connection in our hearts, communities and world, and to spread the seeds of justice and love.