Cover crop

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TheWanderingScholar
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Re: Cover crop

Post by TheWanderingScholar »

Well...yeah, I guess that works.

George the original one
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Re: Cover crop

Post by George the original one »

TheWanderingScholar wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 3:59 pm
In the case, would leaving the last harvest of beans on the stalk and tilling it into the ground work?
Usually one doesn't want to let a cover crop go to seed lest you get that cover crop sprouting at an undesireable time.

UK-with-kids
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Re: Cover crop

Post by UK-with-kids »

George the original one wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:29 pm
Fava beans and buckwheat are the two cover crops that can easily be tilled back into the soil. Maybe winter wheat, too. Clover is probably not what you're looking for, though it is a good nitrogen fixer, because the seeds remain viable if they happen to not sprout the year they're planted.
horsewoman wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 1:14 pm
Mustard, phacelia, Broad bean and Alexandria clover were his suggestions.
guitarplayer wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:59 pm
I second broadbeans, they are tasty proteins too! Our gardener has been using them two seasons ago. Last season and this season he planted something that flowers blue, I'll ask him what species that it.
horsewoman wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:47 pm
Hereabouts farmers plant lupine and clover on fields over the winter and plough it in spring.
I usually sow some broad beans in November (I think fava beans is just the US name for the exact same plant). An overwintering variety like Aquadulce works well. However, in our climate they probably won't be ready to harvest until the beginning of June. That's a bit late for using the same ground next year unless you've raised something in pots and you're going to plant it out in the same spot. So if you were going to be growing something like tomatoes or courgettes/zucchini it might work, but roots like carrots that can't be transplanted and have to be sowed earlier in the season wouldn't be possible. It might be possible to come up with a crop rotation system that effectively gives you two crops in the same year on one of your beds, but I've never managed to do that myself.

That's why cover crops like clover are good suggestions if your aim is simply to suppress weeds and dig the plant in once it's finished being useful, rather than trying to squeeze another crop out of the same plot in the same season.

guitarplayer
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Re: Cover crop

Post by guitarplayer »

horsewoman wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 1:14 pm
Asked my head gardener, he said lupine is too expensive for that aim.
Mustard, phacelia, Broad bean and Alexandria clover were his suggestions.
Our gardener also said that phacelia tanacetifolia makes a great cover crop. I have some planted this year because they look nice as well. Insects love them, and once cut they remain fresh for well over a week. The gardener also clarified that using broad beans over a large area could be expensive.

horsewoman
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Re: Cover crop

Post by horsewoman »

@guitarplayer - in Germany phacelia is informally called "bee's friend", which would indicate that insects like this crop indeed! So it would be an added benefit to help the bees and bumblebees.

Alphaville
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Re: Cover crop

Post by Alphaville »

here in ‘merica, pollinators love alfalfa too btw. i think the euro-name is lucerne? here it’s usually rotated with corn.

i used to buy mine in the local nursery. really easy to plant, just broadcast and rake, or use a shallow drill.

eta: look for “plowdown alfalfa”

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Jean
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Re: Cover crop

Post by Jean »

Alphaville wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 10:56 am
guys... all those are nice mulches but he’s asking for cover crop which is alive
I was misled by the mention of black plastic sheets and leaves into thinking that he was looking for a better mulch.

Here, people use alfalfa (luzerne) as a way to revigorate a field.

This deliciously edible specie reseeded an grew like a weed on my crop last winter and spring.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valerianella_locusta.
It is edible without being a bean. You don't have to eat it, and it can reseed over years if you let it, and will disapear around mai.

guitarplayer
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Re: Cover crop

Post by guitarplayer »

alfalfa is quite commonly used as a name for it in Europe.

@horsewoman, we have some of these next to our spaghetti squash and I seriously start thinking that we have detracted polinators from ponating the veggies since we have quite many aborts!

7Wannabe5
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Re: Cover crop

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Important note would be that in the Gardening Zone that Jacob and I inhabit “over-wintering” isn’t really a thing. If you’ve ever read descriptions of North Korean orphans dying because cot wasn’t quite close enough to fire, that’s what’s going to happen to most stuff you might attempt to broadcast in fall for spring cropping.

Also, red and white clover are two of the most prevalent backyard weeds in our region. A full quarter of the most common weeds are edible themselves.

https://www.spacetogrowchicago.org/dev ... dition.pdf

That’s why I suggested that spring weeding can be done in a manner very similar to clutter control with Eat/Kill/Keep-for-now sorting mechanism. The Keep-for-now being/becoming the cover crop(s.) Unfortunately, the most aggressive offenders in garden setting are not likely to be held off without mechanical/manual intervention. Mulching will help, but cover crop not so much.

Alphaville
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Re: Cover crop

Post by Alphaville »

Jean wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:41 pm
Here, people use alfalfa (luzerne) as a way to revigorate a field.

This deliciously edible specie reseeded an grew like a weed on my crop last winter and spring.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valerianella_locusta.
It is edible without being a bean. You don't have to eat it, and it can reseed over years if you let it, and will disapear around mai.
oh! mâche! YUM. it’s pricey here.

and yeah, that’s alfalfa’s use besides animal forage, here you can have summer or winter crops. e.g. see: https://www.ruralking.com/vernal-alfalfa-seed-50-pound

then again it’s a perennial so you can let it develop into a stand
7Wannabe5 wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 3:01 pm
Important note would be that in the Gardening Zone that Jacob and I inhabit “over-wintering” isn’t really a thing. If you’ve ever read descriptions of North Korean orphans...
yikes!

so the idea is let the weeds grow and then weed selectively, yes?

btw i’ve read about planting daikon in late summer and letting the winter kill on purpose. which breaks up the ground and feeds the worms.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Cover crop

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

@Alphaville:

What's the sense of pulling Lamb's Quarter in order to plant spinach? Horticulture is not necessarily best practiced as miniature version of 3 crop rotation agriculture. Sure, you can just do alfalfa-to-be-rototilled followed by Better Boy tomatoes in your backyard in a big square cut out of your lawn, but why?

Worms will actively pull leaf matter underground to digest. That is why they are a danger to the North Woods ecosystem. I wanted to try a combination of cardboard and turnips for lazy sandwich garden bed creation.

Food is pretty inexpensive to buy, but I believe that spending 2 hours/day towards feeding yourself (inclusive of processing/cooking as well as planting/weeding/watering/harvesting/planning etc.), no matter what your current setting is towards resilience on many levels, with psychological maybe being most important. So, once you are "resigned" to 2 hours/day as best practice, "weeding" becomes less of a chore. I mean, why is bindweed any different than a zombie in a video game, if you need an enemy to defeat?

Alphaville
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Re: Cover crop

Post by Alphaville »

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Tue Aug 04, 2020 6:30 am
why is bindweed any different than a zombie in a video game, if you need an enemy to defeat?
:lol:

you’re right on all counts, and hilarious as always

teach me sensei! :)

jacob
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Re: Cover crop

Post by jacob »

Some use a grass whip to practice their golf swing. Seriously!

It looks like the solution would be either to waste a season or waste the food to get nitrogen into the ground OR plant "russian kale" everywhere. We've had some repeated success with the kale overwintering under the snow and "regenerating" nicely in late March for early greens. Otherwise, just continue with the current system of covering things up with leaves and twigs and doing the labor of weeding.

c4rat0n1a
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Re: Cover crop

Post by c4rat0n1a »

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Tue Aug 04, 2020 6:30 am
I mean, why is bindweed any different than a zombie in a video game, if you need an enemy to defeat?
I've been fighting that stuff for 20 years. I'd like to think that after that amount of time on a video game, I would've beaten the game. I've found chickens are pretty effective at removing all plants from an area of the garden. Plus stuff grows great where they used to live.

Some of the farmers round here have had fields of phacelia this year, which I've never seen before - maybe some new government subsidy.

George the original one
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Re: Cover crop

Post by George the original one »

c4rat0n1a wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 1:29 pm
Some of the farmers round here have had fields of phacelia this year, which I've never seen before - maybe some new government subsidy.
Not being familiar with it, I googled: "Phacelia is a nitrogen-fixing legume. Nodules on the roots are the site of a symbiotic relationship between plant and soil micro organisms."

EMJ
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Re: Cover crop

Post by EMJ »

George the original one wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 2:46 pm
Not being familiar with it, I googled: "Phacelia is a nitrogen-fixing legume. Nodules on the roots are the site of a symbiotic relationship between plant and soil micro organisms."
No phacelia is not a legume:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phacelia

EMJ
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Re: Cover crop

Post by EMJ »

jacob wrote:
Tue Aug 04, 2020 8:40 am
Some use a grass whip to practice their golf swing. Seriously!

It looks like the solution would be either to waste a season or waste the food to get nitrogen into the ground OR plant "russian kale" everywhere. We've had some repeated success with the kale overwintering under the snow and "regenerating" nicely in late March for early greens. Otherwise, just continue with the current system of covering things up with leaves and twigs and doing the labor of weeding.
Why is growing something other food a waste? There are so many benefits to cover cropping.

George the original one
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Re: Cover crop

Post by George the original one »

EMJ wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 3:43 pm
No phacelia is not a legume:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phacelia
Figures I'd pick a bad source when I'm in a hurry... this should fix it:

"As a cover crop, Lacy Phacelia aggressively out-competes weeds, and will absorb excess nitrates and calcium in the ground. At our farm, we have found that this crop conditions the top few inches of soil better than almost any other cover crop we've grown. Will readily re-seed if not dead-headed, and winter kills at 20°F. Recommended seeding rate: 3 ounces per 1,000 square feet or 7 pounds per acre."

sky
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Re: Cover crop

Post by sky »

Here is a cover crop selection tool: http://mccc.msu.edu/covercroptool/covercroptool.php

You need to think about how you will kill off the cover crop. Some die in winter, others need to be tilled. The time you plan to plant and harvest your "cash" crop needs to be taken into consideration, after harvesting your produce, how much time does your cover crop have to establish?

I would look at Field Pea or Oats because they die off after frost, so no tilling is required.
Last edited by sky on Fri Aug 07, 2020 6:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

sky
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Re: Cover crop

Post by sky »

Here is another source of cover crop information, recommended by the Cornell Small Farms course.

https://www.sare.org/Learning-Center/To ... Management

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