Cover crops

stuffradioNovember 18, 2010

Can I plant cover crops in Jan or feb? I'm either in zone 8 or 7, not too sure. I want to have a thick layer of cover crop... mow it down in March or April, and then plant things between it. Not too sure what I will do in areas where I plant potatoes though... might be a lot of work to plant in between them haha.

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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

That depends on what condition your soil is in then and what your weather is like. A moist, but not overly wet, soil that is somewhat warm may well allow seed to germinate and grow, providing the weather is warm enough to allow that to happen as well.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 6:54AM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Generally speaking, latest planting date would mid-October. Planting as late as you suggest would end up with a very poor stand.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 8:44PM
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SoTX(8b/9a)

Both winter rye (grass) and wi nter rye (cereal) will germinate as long as the ground is not frozen.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2011 at 3:32AM
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GreeneGarden(5)

Be careful. Rye will not die until it blooms next year which is around April-May in your area. I always plant oats or barley since they die back with a reasonable freeze. Rye will not die unless you get a very hard freeze which is extremely unlikely in zone 8. I also mix in fava or vetch for nitrogen fixation.

Here is a link that might be useful: Building up Soil

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 11:51PM
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Belgianpup(Wa/Zone 7b)

Which Zone 8 are you in? Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, South or North Carolina?

Sue

    Bookmark   October 15, 2011 at 1:09AM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Since the purpose of a cover crop is to cover the soil to help control erosion, planting one (Oats) that will die in cold weather may not be what one would want to do. There are winter hardy Barleys that could be used in place of Winter, Field, or Cereal Rye, but Annual Rye, a "weed" grass should not be suggested.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2011 at 6:27AM
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novascapes

Cover crops are used for more than just erosion control. Legumes have been used way before commercial fertilizer came along to put N back into the soil.
Annual Rye planted in clay soil will form passageways deep into the earth helping percolation and aeration. It is also a nutrient scavenger, bringing nutrients from deep soil, sandy or clay, and making them available to the following plantings.
To get rid of rye either glyphosate (RoundUp) or covering with black plastic will work.
There are also tuberous plantings that work well. Such as the tillage radish.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2011 at 8:03AM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Legumes are more a green manure crop than a cover crop and yes cover crops can be for more than erosion control, but if the crop is planted to provide organic matter to the soil it is then a green manure crop and not just a cover crop.
Some people mistake Annual Ryegrass, "Lolium multiflorum", a weedy grass with Winter, Field, or Cereal Rys, "Secale cereale", a grain, because both are refered to as rye. They are not the same thing and do not do the same thing.
Once again, mentioning any glyphosate product on an organic gardening forum tells every one the person posting is not an organic gardener/farmer. No glyphosate product is acceptable to any organic gardener/farmer.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2011 at 6:58AM
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