Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Vetch Update for April 20, 2010

I am very glad I tried this lovely, edible (sweet and tender), high protein, nitrogen-fixing leguminous (a Lathyrus species hybrid) cover crop ( AC Greenfix Chickling Vetch) as a winter annual that I am now curious if will "over-summer" here in Tampa. Growth has been rapid, and it takes just a few minutes daily to chop up several handsful in a tray using kitchen scissors to feed to the chickens for their vital raw green plant matter fix. They definitely prefer the Bonar and other Rapes/Brassicas, but they and the Japanese quail will eat it if I chop it fairly fine as I harvest it. Its close relationship to the ornamental garden sweet pea, Lathyrus odorata, has been made even clearer by the small but lovely blooms that come in many colors that have recently appeared. I detect no fragrance, and people tell me I have a very sensitive nose. But it has done its job feeding the chickens, and I am sure is nitrifying my summer sweet potato patch. Here are a few pics from today. In northern climates now would be a good time to sow the seeds. John

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