Our Homestead Garden is aptly named as it was one of the gardens built and lovingly maintained by my late father, Burl Hedge. He curated this piece of ground nestled among the trees and at the edge of the pond field to harbor the gardens for our homes and tables. He grew an abundance of squash, tomatoes, corn, watermelons, gourds, okra, and peppers to harvest and sneak into the neighbors car! We eventually built a 7 foot fence around the garden to protect if from deer. We continue to use this garden for a variety of produce. We experimented last year with a cool season cover crop of Elbon Rye, Hairy Vetch, Crimson clover, and a radish. These died out in the summer leaving a layering of mulch mat. Little weeding or hoeing was necessary with the bonus of building soil organic matter, bringing in beneficial bugs, and improving water retention during drought. We plan to use this same approach this year. We will improve on our planting method into the mat. We will use a small auger type attachment to drill seed holes into the mulch mat that is super dense and thick. We learned it is important to crimp the cover crop's stems enough to prevent the cover crop from slowing seed sprouting.