Best Cover Crop? for any season - with a catch

hermitonthehill(7a/b)March 17, 2007

With some more recent rescues and an increase in number in a particular species, combined with some new notions on amending the formal garden here... I'd like to know what the best cover-crops are for TN?

Not only am I seeking a (cheap) cover crop for any or all seasons (not just for winter), but ideally I need one that would be healthy grazing for domestic rabbits.

The garden soil needs amending, period. Chances are I will only use a small portion of the formal garden for veggies this year (those that would be more hassle to try and grow in a container, like corn, etc.). I would like to sow a cover crop or crops, in other sections that the rabbits can safely graze on, before time to till under - and then move the rabbits' grazing pen to the next section of cover crop.

I know buckwheat is a common cover crop to be grown and tilled under before it goes to seed, I'm just not sure if it would be good grazing for bunnies so I have to check into that. Does anyone have any other recommendations?

With the exception of small parts being used for some veggies, I'd like to do cover crops and rotation of that grazing area for the rabbits throughout the year - so I need suggestions for things suitable for all of the seasons, not just the winter. Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter all. If you don't know if they would be good or safe for bunnies, suggest anyway and I'll double-check against rabbit-specific info or sources to find out.

Figure if anyone would know, you folks here would!

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ladybug37091(z7 Tennessee)


    Bookmark   March 17, 2007 at 11:16PM
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I thought about that (clover), but then ruled it out... have various types of clover on the property, it doesn't thrive like I've seen it in other places, so it's low on the possibility lists...

I'm trying now to find a reasonably priced source for Timothy grass/hay because while it's a good cover crop, it would also provide for fresh grazing as well as harvesting other sections to dry for later use.
Buckwheat has a vote for one of what I foresee as being multiple sowings in a year.

I know soybean is grown around here as a commercial crop. I'm wondering how well it does as a cover crop to be tilled under. Anyone know?

I find myself contemplating growing hybrid corns (I'm not so much on hybrids these days) in tandem with the different grazing sections as those will be rotated and I could stagger plantings. I figure the corns to be used as a natural windblock and for providing some shade naturally instead of relying solely upon a non-breathing tarp tented over an area.

I was surprised to read that for wild cottontail rabbits, Kentucky Bluegrass is a staple during almost every month of the year for them. I feel that KY Bluegrass is really better suited to be sown and not tilled under, but rather perpetuating it in situ, so I'm scoping out the property for areas that could certainly do with some "lawn" and could readily double to be in the rotation chain of grazing sites for the bunnies.

With more suggestions and ideas, the more things are coming together in my head in order to have an actual "plan" on how to tackle this project, especially since it is intended to be used on a schedule. I'm time-sharing compiling info for multipurpose ground cover plants with mentally drafting the grazing pens to provide them with safety, but also low-maintenance and not a complete and total PITA to move from one section or site to another!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2007 at 11:25PM
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