When in doubt, plant cover crop. Given the delayed start to Tiny Diner site construction and landscape overhaul, we decided to wait until 2014 to plant annual edibles. Yet it is so important to make sure, like nature does unless there is some natural disaster, that our earth remains covered. We opted for a cover crop in our annual beds around the thicket to keep the soil from eroding as well as ensure stable aeration throughout the upper layers of our soils.
No, the greenery you see on the north side of the patio is not a weed patch. It is actually an intentional planting of a tri-mix cover crop: winter wheat, Austrian pea, and a forage radish. The wheat is used to add biomass to the beds while the Austrian pea crop is meant to ensure nitrogen fixation in the soil. The large radish, a daikon, is used for its penetration skills to break up the harder soil underneath the annual beds and aerate for our next season. Our radish was seeded quite heavily but we did not fret. We picked two harvests of radish sprouts for our restaurant delivery and weekly farm stand. Turning a cover crop problem into a taste-testing opportunity — a permaculture principle in action.