Sorghum X Sudangrass Cover Crop Update

The Sorghum X Sudangrass cover crop that I planted back in early June has gotten tall enough to need mowed.  This forage plant when mowed either by me or by cattle doubles down by growing even more determined to flourish.  It will tiller aggressively and dig down deeper through the hard pan to reach nutrients.  That was among the reasons I planted it: weed suppression, sub-soiling and serious organic matter production.

Here is early June with spotty germination caused by user error:

BMR sorghum x sudangrass

BMR sorghum x sudangrass


Now here is what it looked like yesterday:


It was about six or seven feet tall.  I needed to cut it to about 12-18″ tall to preserve the growing part of the grass and not kill it, but instead to stimulate it to grow more.  I put a metal blade on a gas powered weed eater and went to work.  Let me tell you it is not very high on my list of fun garden chores.  But here you go:


It looks like a total mess right now.  I do not know if I should remove the stalks to compost in a different place or leave them be to contribute in the spot.  I will keep an eye on the grass to make sure that it does not get smothered.  All in all I am pleased as punch on how it grew.  It went from being seeded early June,  not watered at all except the first week or two to help germination(we are way down in rain here) and was also not fertilized at all and still got nearly 7 feet tall by August 1st.

Ohio Local Foods week at the Logan Community Garden

Ohio Local Foods week is August 7th- 13th.   We live in one of the finest of agricultural states as well as a outstanding region for fresh meat, vegetables and fruit.  I try to source local food as much as possible to feed my family as I like to see where it comes from and know its story.

To celebrate Local Foods Week in Hocking county I will be at the Logan Community Garden off Radio Lane behind the City of Logan’s maintenance facility on Tuesday August 9th at 7pm for a free event open to anyone in the community for a garden walk to see different ways folks like to grow and to answer any questions people have.


To me the best local food you can eat is the food you grow yourself, be it in your backyard or your community garden.  I can grow a significant amount of my family’s produce and I am happy to show you how to do that for your family if you want to learn.

The buckwheat cover crop experiment at the Logan Community Garden had a good growing season.


Hope to see you at the garden.  Take a walk around and see how amazing it is.  The Logan Community garden will have open plots for the 2017 season so you can start your planning now and get your name on the list to reserve a spot.


Food plots for deer and other wildlife


My friend Josh came in to the office in early spring to talk about how he could grow food plots for deer on his land in Hocking County.  He had been trying various seed but was not having success.  Josh is not only a hunter like many around here but he is also a conservationist(also like many around).

One of the first thing that you do when evaluating a spot on your land as a food plot is to see what it offers the wildlife.  They basically need what we need:  Food, Water and Shelter.

Josh had picked a great spot.  It has cover with woods up both sides of the food plot area-


It also had a water source with a very nice looking creek on one side-


Just needed to work on the food.  My first thought when he described what had been going on was that we needed a soil sample to see how the fertility is.

The soil sample completely told the story.   Evidently the ground had been strip mined at some point and then not remediated after that so it was not capable of doing a good job supporting a forage.

soil test

According to the soil test he needed to lime the soil, increase the organic matter, and add the big 3 of Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosphorus.

Which Josh did.  He is a hard worker.   He added all the soil amendments and planted forage brassicas as well as planted a buckwheat cover crop on another spot that will be mowed and tilled to increase organic matter and fertility for an upcoming fall deer food crop.

And it worked like crazy.

Here are the forage brassicas that Josh and his buddy planted.  That is not a Tonka truck in the picture.


deer josh2


Here is the buckwheat getting mowed right in full flower, before it sets seed. Same principle we are using for the same reason at the Logan Community Garden


Josh Buckwheat4Gosh do I love cover crops.

I am hoping Josh and his buddies land the biggest trophy bucks of their lives this season.  They will have earned it the hard way, and he is improving his land for future generations.

If you want to develop your land for future projects let me know and we will get started with a plan.

I will be speaking on Food Plots for Wildlife including deer and game birds at the Farm Science Review on September 21st at the Gwynne Conservation Area.  Stop by and say hello.

In the Vegetable Garden – Early July

How is your garden doing so far?

I have had some successes and some failures so far.  Pretty much like any year I guess.   For the first time in a long time I had a near crop failure in head cabbage.   Others have told me similar.  Might have been the early spring heat.  My cauliflower was so-so and it turned out to be a pretty darn good broccoli season.   They are all spent now so out they went and in went a patch of green beans :

Green beans following cabbage adds nitrogen back to the soil in crop rotation

Green beans following cabbage adds nitrogen back to the soil in crop rotation



I plant as often as I take something out.  In this picture I have baby pole beans growing up the stalks of giant sunflowers.  This will be a living trellis for the beans up to about 10′ tall.  Makes harvest easier.  I have bush beans around the base of them that are almost over.


Pole beans on a living trellis

Pole beans on a living trellis


In other veggie news:


I just took out the sugar snap pea row.  The part near the winter squash will be left unplanted as the squash will ramble all over that area shortly.  The southern part of the row will get a planting of zucchini here shortly.  The key to keeping the harvest going at maximum is to plant as soon as space opens up.  We still have a ton of growing season left and the fall is the best time of the year for growing.


Sugar snaps are done, time to plant something else.

Sugar snaps are done, time to plant something else.


How is your garden doing?  Send me any pictures, updates or questions.  I like learning and seeing new things.