perennial edibles that give off nitrogen

southpointFebruary 23, 2013

Looking for cover crops that give off nitrogen that are edible for myself or small flock to plant around pecan trees. Some possibilities I have for central Texas are winter pea, bush clover. Ones that can be used for livestock and mowed down prior to the fall. Any other suggestions?

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Austrian Winter Peas is one possibility. They always winter kill up north and they must be planted at an inconvenient time. Austrian Winter Peas do very well in central and southern Kansas and in the Nebraska panhandle. Field Peas is another. They do winterkill by early winter.

The pea/oat or pea/triticale is excellent for haylage or silage. These mixes have the same benefits for livestock farmers as the soybean/summer grass mixes.

Peas can handle routine summer temperatures in the low-mid 80s. Peas can be grazed. Peas arenâÂÂt shade tolerant so they donâÂÂt do well when sown into row crops. Frankly outside the mixes I think the clovers may be more versatile.

Chickling Vetch: Also known as âÂÂAC Greenfix.â It will fix nitrogen faster both in the fall (it winterkills about the same time as the peas) and in the spring. AC Greenfix seed is more expensive and harder to plant due to itâÂÂs shape.

Hairy Vetch is the strongest nitrogen fixer among the annuals. Hairy vetch easily fits into vegetable rotations. I have seen two foot vine growth and numerous fat nodules on vetch in early-mid April after a mildly wet fall and an early spring. It will be harder to fit into field crop rotations, especially corn-soybeans.

Radishes, such as the groundhog radish fix nitrogen and can be eated by wildlife, such as deer. Maybe domesticatedanimals.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 10:38AM
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