The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Late fall cover crops

Oat flowersJust a week after noticing that the six week old buckwheat was going to seed, I saw these beautiful oat flowers popping out of my two month old oats.  Since I'm growing the oats as a cover crop right now, I went ahead and mowed them down with the hedge trimmer.  Incidentally, the hedge trimmer got slightly bogged down in the thickest parts of the oat beds, so I wouldn't want to use it on anything tougher than ripening oat stalks.

Meanwhile, I'm continuing to go a little overboard testing out every possible autumn cover crop.  Two weeks ago, I planted several beds with crimson clover, the only fall-planted legume cover crop that is supposed to be at least semi-reliably winter-killed in our region.  Early October is late to be planting crimson clover, but the seeds are already up and I have high hopes we'll get enough growth to give me an idea of the quality of the variety before our first hard freeze.

I've got a lot more beds opened up now that the summer garden is officially dead, so I'm going to try out one last cover crop this year --- barley.  If you're curious about the pros and cons of different cover crops in your region, I highly recommend that you download Managing Cover Crops Profitably.  This 4.5 MB, 248 page pdf file gives a lot of regional pointers that will help you figure out which cover crops are worth a shot and which ones should be avoided at all costs.  The results you'll get from a cover crop are highly dependent on your climate and soil, so it's worth doing a bit of research rather than just planting the cover crops that have done well on someone else's farm.

Don't want to take the time to experiment?  Our homemade chicken waterer kit can be put together in less than an hour.

Anna Hess's books
Want more in-depth information? Browse through our books.

Or explore more posts by date or by subject.

About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

Want to be notified when new comments are posted on this page? Click on the RSS button after you add a comment to subscribe to the comment feed, or simply check the box beside "email replies to me" while writing your comment.

Hi, the "managing cover crops download" link is not working. would you please let me know when it starts working again? thank you. my email is suzanne
Comment by suzanne Sat Oct 23 23:45:37 2010
Sorry about that! I'm pretty sure the link is better now, if anyone else wants to try it.
Comment by anna Sun Oct 24 08:45:14 2010

profile counter myspace

Powered by Branchable Wiki Hosting.

Required disclosures:

As an Amazon Associate, I earn a few pennies every time you buy something using one of my affiliate links. Don't worry, though --- I only recommend products I thoroughly stand behind!

Also, this site has Google ads on it. Third party vendors, including Google, use cookies to serve ads based on a user's prior visits to a website. Google's use of advertising cookies enables it and its partners to serve ads to users based on their visit to various sites. You can opt out of personalized advertising by visiting this site.