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Cover crops

 

Cover Crops
TypeLegume/ Non- LegumeAmount to Sow/ 100ft2(oz.)When to SowWhen to Turn UnderEffectsNotes
AlfalfaL1/2spring
late summer
fall
spring
Fixes 150-250 lbs. N/ac./yr; deep roots break up hard soil, trace elements to surface.Loam, fairly fertile soil; needs warm temps. for germination. Lime if pH is low. Hardy. In mountains sow by Aug 10. Drought tolerant. Inoculate.
BarleyN4fall
spring
spring
fall
Adds organic matter; improves soil aggregation.Prefers medium-rich, loam soil. Lime if pH is low. Not as hardy as rye. Tolerates drought.
BuckwheatN2 1/2spring
summer
summer
fall
Mellows soil; rich in potassiumMust leave part of garden in cover crop during season. Grows quickly. Not hardy.
Crimson
Clover
L1/3spring
fall
fall
spring
Fixes 100-150 lbs. N/ac./yr.Not reliably hardy. Sow before mid-Sept. in Piedmont and mountains. Not drought tolerant. Lime if pH is low. White clover is a bit hardier.
Fava beansLplant 8” apartearly spring
late summer
early summer
fall
Some types fix 70-100 lbs. N/ac./yr in as little as 6 weeks. Use small seeded rather than large seeded table types.Will grow on many soil types. Medium drought tolerance. Likes cool growing weather. Good for mountain areas. If planted in early spring can grow late vegetables. Inoculate with same bacteria as hairy vetch.
OatsN4spring
fall
summer
spring
Adds organic matter; improves soil aggregation.Needs adequate manganese. Not hardy; tolerates low pH
Rye, winter N3 1/2fallspringAdds organic matter; improves soil aggregation.Very hardy. Can plant until late October.
Vetch, hairyL2 1/2early fallspringFixes 80-100 lbs. N/ac./yr.Inoculate; slow to establish. Fairly hardy. Till under before it seeds; can become a weed.
Wheat, winterN4fallspringAdds organic matter; improves soil aggregation.Prefers medium-rich, loam soil. Lime if pH is low. Not as hardy as rye. Tolerates drought.