Draft Animal Power – Draft animals and sustainable land stewardship › Forums › Sustainable Living and Land use › Sustainable Homestead › Need advice for cover crop
- April 21, 2015 at 8:58 pm #85416Ed ThayerParticipant
I have a small plot that was in potatoes last year and had heavy crab grass pressure. I like to rotate the taters and would like some advice on a cover crop for last years piece.
I have planted winter rye in the fall on this piece in the past then plowed it under and planted in the spring, but I was not sure about a spring planting cover crop. Any suggestions would be helpful.
EdApril 22, 2015 at 7:15 am #85417Livewater FarmParticipant
I use oats as a spring cover can also make a quality hay from it
BillApril 22, 2015 at 7:53 am #85418robie robinsonParticipant
I often mix vetch in with oats. If you can leave fallow the vetch will have a dense mat of vegetation which will supress weeds. Follow in the summer with buckwheat and the bees will appreciate you.
RobieApril 22, 2015 at 8:13 am #85419mitchmaineParticipant
you might try discing it first to upset your weeds, roots up to kill them, and every week or ten days when another crop of weeds show, lightly disc them, and do that for a month or so, and kill a few crops of weed seed before you sow your cover crop ed.April 22, 2015 at 8:43 am #85420Ed ThayerParticipant
I have never planted oats before, do I need to do anything to it later besides mow it? Do I disc it back in then plant buckwheat?
I think I will disc it a few times before doing any planting.April 22, 2015 at 9:07 am #85421robie robinsonParticipant
Whats your zone? you can broadcast oats and vetch if a good discing is done first. Do a once over light discing and pray for rain. both oats and vetch will go dormant/die when it gets hot. About Junes middle here in zone 7a. disc lightly the oat/vetch and broadcast the buckwheat. Buck wheat has to be near the dirt to germinate and grow. It is an aggressive self seeder till frost and then it is gone.
robieApril 22, 2015 at 11:28 am #85423dominiquer60Moderator
Oat or oats and peas are good to plant this time of year, if done ASAP they will be less weedy than if you wait some. If you are giving this plot the year off I would recommend oats (horse feed oats work fine) and peas if you can get them. in July mow or disc them down, then work them in for a bit. It is during the warm summer months that bare fallowing will promote the flush of crab grass that you can kill with a harrow and repeat a couple times. After a bare fallow to sprout and kill the grass seeds, you can go one of many ways. More oats and or peas that will winter kill, buckwheat that will frost kill or a winter grain with or without vetch. The buckwheat doesn’t leave a lot of residue for winter ground protection, the oat and/or peas can be disked in come Spring, the winter grains (rye, wheat, triticale) will need plowing the following Spring. There are many options and any that let the grass sprout to be killed, and grow cover for soil protection and added Organic matter will do you good.
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