terminating cereal (grain) cover crops

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Danoost
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terminating cereal (grain) cover crops

Post by Danoost »

Grains are one of the best overwinter cover crops to grow but terminating them in the spring in advance of a new planting can be a challenge for no-till growers. Winter rye, for example, is a tough, fast growing, deep rooting grain that survives extreme conditions and can grow five feet tall.

If you're growing a grain as a cover crop, how do you plan to deal with it in the spring in preparation of planting?
Trina
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Re: terminating cereal (grain) cover crops

Post by Trina »

I planted white Dutch clover in the fall of 2020.I struggled all summer 2021 to rid my raised garden boxes of it. I tried to smother with cardboard early spring until planting. This last fall I just covered with leaves.
What to do better?
Danoost
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Re: terminating cereal (grain) cover crops

Post by Danoost »

This brings up a good point: be careful which cover crop you choose. White Dutch clover is a great nitrogen-fixer but it's a fairly invasive weed. Not much you can do other than dig it out entirely. It spreads underground.

I recommend that you experiment with easy-to-kill covers first. Fava beans, phacelia, winter peas, buck wheat and mizuna, for example, are easy to kill.

If you do want to try the hardier cover crops, plant them in an area where they're easy to deal with or even in a container.
Michelle Dargatz
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Re: terminating cereal (grain) cover crops

Post by Michelle Dargatz »

Selecting a wide variety of cover crops was difficult for me this year. We went with a mix of winter peas, white dutch clover, fall rye, buck wheat, hairy vetch, fava beans and something else I can't remember...The plan is to flail mow a few times. We'll see how that goes. As for in the garden, last Spring I weed-whacked it. Took a few goes, but eventually it worked and nothing grew up. After weed-whacking, I covered with compost.
Alicia
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Re: terminating cereal (grain) cover crops

Post by Alicia »

Ha! I totally had this problem last spring as I had planted some fall rye as I heard it was best to supress the weeds. But getting rid of it was a lot of work! The beds that I didn't get to planting until later in the season had 4ft tall rye that went to seed. I pulled it out and placed it in the pathways. I planted some again this year in another section so I will be sure to terminate it early with some sort of mulch. When would be the best time? Our snow doesn't disappear until March sometime...
Trina
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Re: terminating cereal (grain) cover crops

Post by Trina »

Danoost wrote: Thu 30-Dec-2021, 14:30 This brings up a good point: be careful which cover crop you choose. White Dutch clover is a great nitrogen-fixer but it's a fairly invasive weed. Not much you can do other than dig it out entirely. It spreads underground.

I recommend that you experiment with easy-to-kill covers first. Fava beans, phacelia, winter peas, buck wheat and mizuna, for example, are easy to kill.

If you do want to try the hardier cover crops, plant them in an area where they're easy to deal with or even in a container.
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Reply from Trina

So I will have issues with the white Dutch clover perennially if I don’t dig it out? Would covering the raised beds with silage tarps as soon as the snow melts work so I do not disturb the soil?
Also I am zone 5 - of the easy to kill cover crops you listed which are appropriate for my zen?

Thanks for your ongoing support.

Kindest Regards,
Trina
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