I have stopped using a plastic strip as a mulch this year between my wee two year old growing trees and have been experimenting with green manures instead. I have also been trialling various multicrops between the rows to try to gauge an idea of what’s possible. So, I sowed or planted the following into clean soil between the trees back in the spring:
1 Crimson Clover
2 Heritage Wheat Varieties
So my aims were really to find a way to control weeds without using plastic mulches and possibly to get an extra crop between closely spaced trees in the orchard. So far, ( July 2020 ), some of the results are promising, others I would not try again.
The first batch of clover is working very well to control weeds, the second and third sown a few weeks later are very weedy. It will of course add nitrogen to the soil. The row of wheat is very weedy too, but holding its ears above the weeds. So timing is crucial. Both the strawberries and raspberries needed hand weeding and may be worthwhile expanding to more rows. Neither have cropped yet.
The Buckwheat took a long time to germinate and does not really suppress weeds. The mustard grew fast and rather thickly, and certainly worked well as did the phacelia. I passed a mower over the mustard to prevent it seeding last week. Other areas of weeds were either strimmed or mown regularly, and the grassed down areas have been hard work after the spring drought we had. The saskatoons are starting to fill up the space between rows of trees, how they will compete with the rows of apples trees time will tell.
So I will update this as I have more information to part…..