Thoughts on Cover Crops?

avid_grow

In Bloom
Bought my first cover crops today. Never used any before but all the research I've done looks super promising.
Red Clover, Crimson Clover, Sweet Lorane (Fava Beans) - all for Nitrogen fixing
Common Buckwheat - retrieving phosphorous

covercrop.jpg

Just curious what folks experience has been with varying cover crops and didn't see anything about it posted already...
 
I'm using rye grass and clover to bust up my veggie garden beds, same with my raised beds, I'll chop and drop it 2 weeks before planting in and it's that time so I'm gonna see how it worked out, as far as cannabis it's really only worth it if your doing no till style, the plant needs to break down in the soil along with the roots and the nodes the rhizobium create when they fix nitrogen, most of what they do conver immediately goes to new growth so as long as your letting the soil eat the whole cover crop your golden, otherwise the nitrogen fixing aspect doesnt really apply to us as our gals aren't in the soil for very long, it does still definitely add to the micro biology in the soil though so not downing it by any means, I'm gonna run some in my 15s in the greenhouse and get some real world data lol
✌✌🖖🖖
 

GthaEnigma

Canna-Arborist
I too am trying my first cover crops this season as i play with building some outdoor no till bags. I am using crimson clover and purple vetch. My aim is to chop one crop half way through summer and replant to finish out the hot part of the season as a living mulch.
 
Took this just now it's a 60x3ft bed amended a tad then mulched with straw and seeded with clover and the annual ryegrass, it's one of the best rated at busting tight soil and adding an assload of root mass to decay and help aerate the soil,clover the same plus the added nitrogen grabbing, this will all get chopped like the bed did then mulched over and planted into after a 2 week cool off20210505_161750.jpg20210505_162121.jpg20210506_183315.jpg
 

avid_grow

In Bloom
Very Rad!! I'll look into ryegrass...my parents have a friend who has used clover and buckwheat in his veggie garden for years and that's what first started me looking into it; and why I went with them to start.

No-till is definitely the way that I want to grow in the future. Will definitely look into getting some ryegrass. It sounds like exactly what I want when I get my no-till setup going. Got another tent so I can turn my 4x4 into my no-till tent...just need to get another light and I should be set.

My plan is to plant the cover(clover, ryegrass, fava bean, buckwheat) 2 months before getting started...chop somewhere around 3 to 5 weeks before planting. The clover and fava bean say they take about 5 to incorporate totally into the soil after chop...the buckwheat says about 3 or 4. I may forgo the fava bean and go ryegrass...we shall see

Don't have any outdoor capability as of yet...so all indoor but I'm really looking forward to this!!
Appreciate you all!! 🙏 👊 👊
 

Willie

🍓Crush Genetics🍓
I have a decent size veggie garden that is fueled with cover crops only. The one I use the most is Black Eyed Peas. $1.50 in the soup aisle. After Garlic,I can get two crops in. They are grown till they flower and then chopped. After tomatoes I can still get a crop in, but whatever I harvest gets re-planted in these beans. Cheapest, most effective fertilizer you will ever buy :)beans.jpg

After that I use Crimson Clover, Hairy Vetch in corn and tomato beds. They overwinter and get killed mid may. White Dutch clover as a ground cover. These and the BEP's all fix nitrogen. I see peeps all the time putting clover on top of a pot with the claim being it fixes nitrogen. That is not true actually, You need to kill clover to make it's nitrogen available. Then 50% of that nitrogen is the plant and the other 50% the roots. It growing in the same pot, is simply competing with the main plant.
Then, buckwheat, oats, and arugula, when I need green mass. Buckwheat is easy to save seeds and brings the pollinators.

BEP's
covercrop.jpgbeans.jpg

These are nodes on the roots of hairy vetch.......that's your nitrogen right thar!
vetchnodes.jpg

Vetch over winters and then booms in spring. I cut it off at the base, let it lie there and plant right thru it. This is like ringing a dinner bell for nightcrawlers. As the vetrch dries you can actually hear it being eaten.vetcha.jpgvetchb.jpg

vetchc.jpg

The vetch all get eaten and you end up needing mulch later. vetchd.jpg

;)
 

Frosty78

In Bloom
Bought my first cover crops today. Never used any before but all the research I've done looks super promising.
Red Clover, Crimson Clover, Sweet Lorane (Fava Beans) - all for Nitrogen fixing
Common Buckwheat - retrieving phosphorous

View attachment 65242

Just curious what folks experience has been with varying cover crops and didn't see anything about it posted already...
Big fan with it. Look up dellasgardencbd on ig. Good fella I chat to a bit with. He has CBD and preps beds with cover crops and uses pigs too. Sent me a heap of info. Good fella, good info and very insightful. I will be using it in future with outdoor. Always learning something new everyday. I was looking at companion planting with plants like wattles that fix nitrogen into the soil. Still looking at that. But della put me onto this and I'm a convert.
 

Willie

🍓Crush Genetics🍓
Living mulch thoughts...
I moved my beds around this year and decided to try clover as a living mulch with the tomatoes...Dutch White Clover. The clover gets about 8" tall and the downside to that is that it will harbor weeds that tall. I wasn't thrilled with that aspect of it. Solution is to get hoe out and chop the weeds...you will chop plenty of clover too. The clover grows and spreads from it's roots, hopefully faster than the weeds regrow. Chopping some is ok because it's only dead clover that releases the nitrogen where the growing clover is a nitrogen loss. That's the theory. The clover keeps the soil nice and there is a lot of worm activity, not sure how the plants will do overall, but will know better @ season's end. There are good nodules forming on the roots and it's possible that next years crop gets more benefit than this years.


My garlic beds are all filled with Black Eyed Peas now.
 

Longdaniel41

In Bloom
Living mulch thoughts...
I moved my beds around this year and decided to try clover as a living mulch with the tomatoes...Dutch White Clover. The clover gets about 8" tall and the downside to that is that it will harbor weeds that tall. I wasn't thrilled with that aspect of it. Solution is to get hoe out and chop the weeds...you will chop plenty of clover too. The clover grows and spreads from it's roots, hopefully faster than the weeds regrow. Chopping some is ok because it's only dead clover that releases the nitrogen where the growing clover is a nitrogen loss. That's the theory. The clover keeps the soil nice and there is a lot of worm activity, not sure how the plants will do overall, but will know better @ season's end. There are good nodules forming on the roots and it's possible that next years crop gets more benefit than this years.


My garlic beds are all filled with Black Eyed Peas now.
Bocking 14...I believe...is a sterile comfrey. Nutrient dense cover crop without a seed bed
 

Willie

🍓Crush Genetics🍓
Bocking 14...I believe...is a sterile comfrey. Nutrient dense cover crop without a seed bed
I have about 14 of them that I got earlier this year. They are not a cover crop. They have HUGE root systems and they make large leaves. You harvest the leaves, then you can do a multitude of things, tea, mulch, turn in, add to compost, etc, You can take 4 cuttings a year to use the material. Researching it, It's kind of a miracle plant. You have to let it grow for a year before you can harvest it.....although the slugs are doing some harvesting now ;)
They grow from a tiny root cutting too...so once you have one.......you can make many. It's illegal in many places

From Mt. Sinai Hospital

In the past, comfrey was also used to treat stomach problems. However, it has toxic substances called pyrrolizidine alkaloids that damage the liver and can lead to death. Comfrey is no longer sold in the U.S., except in creams or ointments. The United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and Germany also have banned the sale of oral products containing comfrey.

The dangerous substances in comfrey are also absorbed through the skin, so harmful amounts may build up in the body. Be careful if you use an ointment containing comfrey (see How to Take It section), and never use comfrey on broken skin.


 

BuddyBracts

Vegging
I used white clover as a cover crop for a few years in my fabric pots outdoors. My plan was to chop n' drop, but the damn things wouldn't die. They ended up creating a thick mat which made it hard to topdress and water. I never had problems with spider mites, but I would see a little bit of damage on the white clover. Stuff was very hardy. I could cut a piece of it and throw it in another pot and it would root....borderline invasive haha. Anyway, I've since switched to wheat straw and the like as a mulch, and I'm much happier since it gives me more control. I also notice lots more worm and other critter activity under the mulch, since there is something to decompose.
 

Willie

🍓Crush Genetics🍓
I used white clover as a cover crop for a few years in my fabric pots outdoors. My plan was to chop n' drop, but the damn things wouldn't die. They ended up creating a thick mat which made it hard to topdress and water. I never had problems with spider mites, but I would see a little bit of damage on the white clover. Stuff was very hardy. I could cut a piece of it and throw it in another pot and it would root....borderline invasive haha. Anyway, I've since switched to wheat straw and the like as a mulch, and I'm much happier since it gives me more control. I also notice lots more worm and other critter activity under the mulch, since there is something to decompose.
I rotated my beds this year. I usually use black plastic or landscape fabric that I have pre cut holes in for my 5 x 8 beds......they wouldn't work as good in the different spots, so I tried the clover.........but another week or so into it and I will confirm that I won't do it again........rather use a conventional mulch. I'll like it better when it's all turned in in a few months, lol.
 

Willie

🍓Crush Genetics🍓
Now, here we shall see the black eyed peas and how they look @ approx 20 days old...........these will double in height and width in the next 15-20 days.....start to flower, then chop.......Then I am going to do it again in a garlic bed or plant a spring terminated cover for things that get planted end of may...like tomatoes, corn, and cukes. This bed cost about 20 cents to plant in BEP's. Can't beat that with a stick. If it's second cropped for garlic, I turn the first one in and let the second one lay as a mulch

Bogeys came in around 7/10bogytyrready.jpg

then they are pulled and BEP's planted. I try for approx 8" on center,,but truth is I liberally apply them....The chipmonks will dig them right up and eat them so a bowl of sunflower seeds the week they germinate will save you some hassle. Once they are up......nothing seems to eat them..kinda like Lima's
bogytyrready4.jpg

20 days in..............these are about halfway done. If you harvest them when they flower you get the most benefit.......but you can grow some out too. Fresh black eyed peas with some smoked hamhock is God food! :)
bogycropped.jpg
Overall. germination rates on these BEP's is phenomenal and for a buck fifty a lb, it's cheap to feed your garden.
 

Willie

🍓Crush Genetics🍓
Ok, here's what's happening in that bed now.
BEPsDone1.jpgBEPsDone2.jpgBEPsDone3.jpgBEPsDone4.jpgThe beans started flowering so time to cut. Chopped them with a hoe, then dug in a bunch, finally raked off the excess. Then re-planted with beans and oats, and then I throw the excess back on top. The soil under the cover crop looked really good and tons of big worms. The re-plant will get chopped in November when I plant garlic, both the beans and oats provide mulch over winter.
 

SSGrower

👨‍🔬
I was thinking about using peanuts as a sort of "over winter" crop indoors on a set of alternating 2 x 4 beds. More because I like peanuts than anything, I'd add strawberries if they weren't such a pest attractant.

I need to build the beds and commit to "no till" first though.
 
Top Bottom