I've been planning the planting schedule for the community garden for about 2 months now. I use the term schedule loosely, there isn't much that's set in stone at the garden, I just happen to be the one who really enjoys the theoretical side of things.
Our biggest challenge in the space is grass. It just enjoys growing there in a way it doesn't want to grow in the typical lawn. Go figure. Every year we fight the grass back and it's just about the only weed we have to, well, weed.
This year we followed the suggestion of Grace Gershuny and planted 2 crops of buckwheat followed by a crop of winter rye (pg 54, Start with the Soil). The grass is indiscriminant and covers the paths as well. In those areas we dug out the grass as best we could and planted perennial white clover. The idea is to give the grass a bit of competition and suffocate it. In the spring we'll plant some rows with red clover and allow it to rest.
The result is a lush, green garden space in the dead of winter!
I took the picture of the garden this past Saturday as I spent time there note taking and surveying the area. There have been concerns voiced about the "condition" of the space, the need to till it all in and start all over again. On the basest level the idea simply hurts my feelings. Any thoughts beyond that begin an internal conversation about the biases of gardening, the status quo, and the misunderstandings of atypical approaches.
These approaches not only alleviate the summer weeds, but also offer a sustainable solution to a garden that operates on a budget of $0 (yes, literally). One where we loving tend the soil in a way where amendments won't be necessary, where we save seed from cover crops to sow again in another season. On top of all that we can use the cover crops for our own benefit: red clover for tea, buckwheat for a grain crop, winter rye for juicing.
Seems I end up defending my gardening approaches no matter where I sink my trowel. Honestly, though, I thought it was pretty nice to see so much green on a gray winter day.