Tuesday, September 23, 2008

winter cover crop

sprouts and fork

Ouch - my first mention of the word "winter"....

My cover crop is sprouting. Little bits of green between the wood chips and the garden tools. I pulled my beans and squashes, limed and planted cover seeds last week. I have a mix called "Fall Green Manure Mix" from Johnny's Selected Seeds. As Johnny's writes: "A mix of winter rye, field peas, ryegrass, crimson clover and hairy vetch. The peas, clover and ryegrass will winter kill to provide organic matter and soil cover. The hairy vetch and winter rye will regrow in the spring to provide nutrients for crops to utilize."

Most of my garden areas still have crops growing. I won't clear them until frost. In these areas I'll plant only the hardy winter rye.

topic: soil


Dan said...

I thought about doing this when I put my garden in this spring but never ordered any seed. Is this your first year doing a cover crop?

Susie said...

I have never heard about a cover crop!! Can you provide any educational resources to this regard?

kathy said...

I always sow a cover crop in the fall. Sometimes I get it in too late for it to do much, but usually I get a good cover. I've always used winter rye in the past, but am experimenting with clover and the Johnny's mix this year.

Here's a really good site with information on cover crops for the home garden (Oregon St Univ Extension).

I like to use the cover crop to add organic matter. I just pull up the old summer crops, add lime if needed, scatter cover crop seeds and work the soil a little bit with a cultivator. In the spring, about 2-3 weeks before planting the soil, I turn the cover crop under.