I am very excited to start my permaculture adventure in two weeks on a 40 acre farm near Athens, GA! On the other hand I am also getting more and more worried everyday as I am realizing how much I still need to learn and how much work I have in store for the next 7 months. I am going to primarily work on soil production and irrigation systems this spring and summer.
I intend to build several miles of swales and ponds systems and would like to know what kind of cover crops are recommended for us in zone 8.
Our soil is mostly clay so sealing the ponds hopefully wont be too difficult, but when we got our soil report back it said that we are have low K and P and wanted to know if there are any cover crops that would help increase those numbers. We obviously are going to plant plenty of N fixing plants, but I was hoping someone out there with more knowledge than I could recommend some additional cover crops we should get to put on the swales to help restore P and K (we have 30 1'-4' trees to be planted with the swales to start).
I am wondering if the soil test is for available P & K or total P & K. If there is actually P & K bound in the clay then it will become available with restorative methods. My land is considered zone 8 also even though I am much further North because of the marine influence. My clay field in some respects outperforms the sandy loam on the next level in elevation.
I have a type of flax that will grow even when the ground is slightly flooded. Past owners have tried to grow different crops on this field. I have been observing and experimenting on it. On thing that grows very well is wild roses which I have formed into a living fence next to the road. There are native saringa, ruches and a sharp leafed grass that are less desirable but manageable. There is a yellow flowering legume that I need to get identified that is doing well; it looks like alfalfa. There is an old plum grove on the edge of the field nest to the elevated and ditched driveway which is doing better since I have reduced the overstory and understory competition and added mulch from mowing the field.