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cover crop...buckwheat

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cover crop...buckwheat

Post  jimmy cee on 10/12/2015, 10:24 am

A week ago I planted some buckwheat, last year it was rye.
Covering with a lattice  for protection, I'm hoping to see it grow up during the late fall / winter.
It's always nice to see some green in the garden mixed in with the snow.
Come spring, I'll just turn it over and hope it decomposes adding what nutrients buckwheat offers.
Then compost and will be off and planting again...
Thats some sugar peas on the side.




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Re: cover crop...buckwheat

Post  yolos on 10/12/2015, 9:41 pm

Sorry jimmy cee, but if you intend to grow buckwheat over the winter, I believe buckwheat will be killed by a frost.

http://www.sare.org/Learning-Center/Books/Managing-Cover-Crops-Profitably-3rd-Edition/Text-Version/Nonlegume-Cover-Crops/Buckwheat

"Buckwheat thrives in cool, moist conditions but it is not frost tolerant"

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Re: cover crop...buckwheat

Post  Marc Iverson on 10/13/2015, 3:51 am

Yup, the two main points about buckwheat are that it will be killed by a frost, so you don't have to worry about it going to seed endlessly, and that it produces a large volume of green growth every few weeks, so you might get, say, two or three cuttings worth between the time to pull out your summer crops and the time frost comes around.

That means you have to monitor it like a hawk, though. If you aren't out there every two or three weeks (I suppose regional weather varies), it will go to seed and then you may have a long-term problem. But if you can get out there and snip or mow it down, you will get a lot of nutritional growth to plow back into the soil, pick up as compost, or let sit and slowly rot as a mulch until the warm season comes around again.

For what it's worth, I got a little lax with mine after a couple of cuttings, and it started sprouting up at random a few feet from where I planted it. Not the worst pest in the world, but you need to pay attention to a planting of it.




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Re: cover crop...buckwheat

Post  jimmy cee on 10/13/2015, 8:45 am

Thanks
I was of the mind of just planting and letting go...not a problem tho, I can just cut it down and let the MM absorb it..
They are nice looking plants though. As far as getting started around my beds?? I have so much other stuff, I'd welcome it...

notice growth beyond the beds...wisteria, kiwi, and a host of many other plants.

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Re: cover crop...buckwheat

Post  jimmy cee on 10/16/2015, 8:13 am

Picked up some rye grain to add, maybe I'll just toss it in among the buckwheat.

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Re: cover crop...buckwheat

Post  yolos on 10/16/2015, 9:08 am

Thought I would add my experience with Buckwheat to Jimmycee's post.  This Buckwheat was planted in a 4 x 12 foot bed from my old row garden.  There is about 4" of MM that was added to the top layer of soil.  Of course, over the years, the MM has been mixed into the original soil.  The workable soil now is about 6-8 inches deep with hard clay underneath.  My goal is to eventually incorporate enough organic matter to begin loosening the clay soil underneath the rich top soil & MM. 

I planted the Buckwheat on 9/2, it grew to its full height and flowered on 9/25.  I left the Buckwheat growing because the honey bees loved it.  I now have to plant my winter pea cover crop before it gets too cold. So on 10/15 I cut down all except a 4 x 4 section.  I am leaving this 4x4 section growing in hopes of collecting seed.  We shall see.

I used old time hedge clippers to cut this down.  I started from the top of the Buckwheat clipping 2-3 inch pieces at a time.  Eventually, I had a nice layer of fresh organic matter on top of the bed.  I them raked about 1 inch off the top and put it in my compost pile.  I used a shovel and inserted it about 4 inches into the soil and flipped the soil/buckwheat over so the majority of the buckwheat is now buried.  I then planted my winter peas.  You are supposed to wait about 2 weeks after you cut down a cover crop before you replant, but I gotta get the peas in the ground now.,

Buckwheat before cutting down.


Buckwheat after cutting it down.  This would have made a good layer of mulch if I just left it lying there.  But I wanted to replant so I turned it under.

Here is the seed I used to plant the Buckwheat.  It is not real economical to buy it in this volume so next year I will try the feed and seed store to get a better price.

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Re: cover crop...buckwheat

Post  Yardslave on 10/16/2015, 12:23 pm

I've seen a mucky clay field salvaged by planting winter rye and then mowing and turning it under to break it up. The rye roots go own way farther into the soil (6 feet or more) than buckwheat's roots, and offer the same nitrogen level. Buckwheat is great in boxes and in garden plots, but if you want a faster, deeper soil conditioner, winter Rye gets my vote.

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Re: cover crop...buckwheat

Post  yolos on 10/16/2015, 2:26 pm

@Yardslave wrote:I've seen a mucky clay field salvaged by planting winter rye and then mowing and turning it under to break it up. The rye roots go own way farther into the soil (6 feet or more) than buckwheat's roots, and offer the same nitrogen level. Buckwheat is great in boxes and in garden plots, but if you want a faster, deeper soil conditioner, winter Rye gets my vote.

I also plant winter rye.  I keep rotating what I plant.  Last year it was winter rye, buckwheat, winter peas.  this year I am doing Buckwheat followed by winter peas and in another part of the long bed I am doing daikon radish.

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Re: cover crop...buckwheat

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