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Cover Crops??

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Re: Cover Crops??

Post  llama momma on 11/25/2012, 7:14 pm

The square foot method really eliminates the 2 extra steps of planting a cover crop and having to turn it under. The end of fall gardening for me is pull up the plants, throw in compost and cover up the garden with a tarp. Come Spring I might add more compost if I feel like it, or just pull back the tarp and begin planting seeds or transplants. Just finished up sfg year #2 and I don't see a need for any cover crops. Just my 2 cents. Wink
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Re: Cover Crops??

Post  RoOsTeR on 11/25/2012, 7:18 pm

100% in agreement with you on that one LM.
Keep it simple!

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Re: Cover Crops??

Post  Turan on 11/25/2012, 7:53 pm

Up here it is probably moot. I just do everything in such a fast spurt there are no open squares needing something in them. If I lived in the tropics I suspect it could be a very useful way to manage the empty squares as I juggle the succession plantings and the rainy season etc.

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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 Crops??

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 Crops??

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 Crops??

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 Crops??

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 Crops??

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 Crops??

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 Crops??

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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Has55's Research Journey-Cover crops

Post  has55 on 8/2/2016, 6:15 am





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Re: Cover Crops??

Post  has55 on 9/26/2016, 6:49 pm

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Re: Cover Crops??

Post  trolleydriver on 9/26/2016, 6:58 pm

Wow this is timely. I was thinking the same thing earlier today and actually searched a few websites. For my SFG boxes I have decided to just put a layer of leaves on top rather than grow a cover crop. One reason is that I think it is too late for me to start a cover crop (we already had a light frost).

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Re: Cover Crops??

Post  has55 on 9/26/2016, 10:19 pm

trolleydriver wrote:
Wow this is timely. I was thinking the same thing earlier today and actually searched a few websites. For my SFG boxes I have decided to just put a layer of leaves on top rather than grow a cover crop. One reason is that I think it is too late for me to start a cover crop (we already had a light frost).
I believe you're right. spring may be your timing. At that garden class taught by heather Rinaldi she said fave beans and Austrian Field Peas can handle the frost. this may apply hare in texas. 
Austrian winter peas (black peas), Canadian field peas (spring peas) 
Type: summer annual and winter annual legume 

Field Peas

I'm posting just a little info, the rest on that link.
Winter-hardy types of field peas, especially Austrian winter peas, can withstand temperatures as low as 10° F with only minor injury, but they don’t overwinter consistently in areas colder than moderate Hardiness Zone 6. They are sensitive to heat, particularly in combination with humidity. They tend to languish in mid-summer even in the cool Northeast (361), where average summers have fewer than 30 days exceeding 86° F. Temperatures greater than 90° F cause flowers to blast and reduce seed yield. On humus-rich black soils, field peas will produce abundant viny growth with few seed pods.
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Re: Cover Crops??

Post  yolos on 9/26/2016, 11:21 pm

I usually plant Austrian Winter Peas in the fall.  They withstand hard freezes but do not grow much once the weather gets real cold.  But they will really take off just as soon as the weather begins to turn warmer. This year I am going to try Mustard because it is supposed to fight some bad microbes.  I have Southern Blight in my soil and hope the Mustard will help suppress it.  

I always plant Buckwheat when I have a bed that will not be used for a while.  This year I planted Buckwheat on 8/13 and it was ready to turn under on 9/9.  I did not turn it under yet because I have been waiting for it to set seeds so I can harvest them to use next year.  The seeds are just now starting to mature so I will be harvesting all of them within a week or two.
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Re: Cover Crops??

Post  jimmy cee on 9/27/2016, 10:21 am

Last fall I added rye grain to all of my beds. Laid down an ample amount of seeds and it grew all winter. Root systems were enormous, so much so that I panicked when spring arrived, however within 2 weeks of ripping it all out the roots left were gone.
This season I am going with rye again, with some buckwheat in my containers.
The rye will grow ans stay green throughout winter, even under snow.







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Re: Cover Crops??

Post  has55 on 9/27/2016, 12:10 pm

when you're ready to get rid of the rye, cut it to the bare ground or 1/4-/12 beneath the soil. the roots will decompose and create great fungal food. Jimmy Cee or anyone,  is there a small tool that will cut simple crop at or beneath the surface?
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Re: Cover Crops??

Post  trolleydriver on 9/27/2016, 12:26 pm

I had to look up the difference between ryegrass and rye grain.

http://ryegrasscovercrop.com/portfolio-view/arggrowin/

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Re: Cover Crops??

Post  sanderson on 9/27/2016, 8:18 pm

has55 wrote:when you're ready to get rid of the rye, cut it to the bare ground or 1/4-/12 beneath the soil. the roots will decompose and create great fungal food. Jimmy Cee or anyone,  is there a small tool that will cut simple crop at or beneath the surface?
An old kitchen knife that can be resharpened. I have a knife I use but usually on out-of-bed weeds!

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Re: Cover Crops??

Post  jimmy cee on 9/27/2016, 9:39 pm

has55 wrote:when you're ready to get rid of the rye, cut it to the bare ground or 1/4-/12 beneath the soil. the roots will decompose and create great fungal food. Jimmy Cee or anyone,  is there a small tool that will cut simple crop at or beneath the surface?
Last season I became awfully upset at the root systems, being I was exposed to tree roots a few years back. I pulled lots out, however I then found within 2 weeks, what roots were left ( and there were many ) decomposed away leaving my beds free to plant. Next spring I will just do it a bit earlier and use garden shears to cut the grass off at ground level.

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Re: Cover Crops??

Post  jimmy cee on 9/27/2016, 9:45 pm

trolleydriver wrote:I had to look up the difference between ryegrass and rye grain.

http://ryegrasscovercrop.com/portfolio-view/arggrowin/
I've been using the cereal rye, which my dealer calls rye grain. At about $ 1.25 per lb I like it.
This article you linked to was very informative, thank you TD.
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Re: Cover Crops??

Post  has55 on 10/29/2016, 12:23 pm

jimmy cee wrote:
trolleydriver wrote:I had to look up the difference between ryegrass and rye grain.

http://ryegrasscovercrop.com/portfolio-view/arggrowin/
I've been using the cereal rye, which my dealer calls rye grain. At about $ 1.25 per lb I like it.
This article you linked to was very informative, thank you TD.
I'm going to add some cereal rye around the plants that benefit from miccorhizae. one or two seeds here and there. this will be my cover crop. I added some peas to it own space. today I chop and drop some of the top part of the peas. they already touching  the netting. i need to raise it, but have not had time. will do soon, then maybe I can have some peas too. some of  them, I will just keep cutting to keep the root alive, but not harvest. same with the rye. I just got my seeds in for using in the empty beds for spring preparation. 
Question-Jimmied cee,
the peppers you showed to us earlier this season was the rye grass in the beds first?
2. the netting I'm using I got the name of it from you and ordered from joann. it very durable. it not tulle. it got damage from the tornados that hit my area may 2015. it still going strong. do you recall it's name?

here's some pics of my peas. they're producing nodules for the nitrogen fixation and have some good length on the roots.

before harvest, peas behind pal choi









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Re: Cover Crops??

Post  jimmy cee on 10/29/2016, 12:33 pm

Question-Jimmied cee,
the peppers you showed to us earlier this season was the rye grass in the beds first?
2. the netting I'm using I got the name of it from you and ordered from joann. it very durable. it not tulle. it got damage from the tornados that hit my area may 2015. it still going strong. do you recall it's name?



Hass55


Yes to the rye grain in that pepper bed last fall, I placed  rye seeds in the fall of 2015, they grew nicely, I will work mybeds to cut and turn over lightly a month before planting time next season. May not need to month, however, it will make me feel better.

Fabric is called ( utility fabric )
http://www.joann.com/mesh-white/1948439.html

I just looked and it's $2.79 per yard now, with some coupons if eligible could have a great price.
That material can be stitched also, I've joined seems with cord.

Just received a coupon from Joanna for 60% off, this is best. Bring that price down to $1.60 per yard.
Today only...( saturday )
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Re: Cover Crops??

Post  has55 on 10/30/2016, 4:12 am

thank you for the info.
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