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

Types of oats

Frosted oats

I didn't realize until last year that there are not only many different varieties of oats, but there are actually whole different species to contend with. In addition to hullless oats (which tend to be grown for grain instead of pasture or biomass), there are two main types of oats you can find being grown in the U.S.

Common Oats (aka Spring Oats, Avena sativa) are the most widespread and are generally what you'll find if you buy seeds at the feed store that were meant to be fed to animals. On the other hand, Red Oats (aka Southern Oats, Avena byzantina) are often planted for pasture or hay in the southern United States.

Oats in winterThe question becomes --- is species or timing of planting and grazing responsible for the fact that some of my oat cover crops have failed to winterkill both last year and (so far) this year? Unfortunately, most of my oat seeds came from a feed store with no label, so I can't know for sure which species they belonged to. So I only have three real data points:

  • Ogle --- A. sativa --- not grazed, winterkilled
  • Noble --- A. sativa --- grazed, did not winterkill
  • Common --- A. sativa --- grazed, did winterkill
  • Unknown feed store oats --- ??? --- not grazed but planted late, didn't winterkill
  • Unknown feed store oats from a different year --- ??? --- not grazed and did winterkill

Perhaps some of you have kept more meticulous notes on the variety and/or species of oats you planted and on what happened in your own garden? If so, I hope you'll comment and share your wisdom since my results are thus far inconclusive.

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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.

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Dude. I use Texas A & M Agrilife Research website for tons of reference material. It is a wealth of information. Those guys know everything! Anyway they have some recommendations with "Dallas" being most cold tolerant. I know Texas is a long way from where you are but like I said, these guys know everything!

Comment by Wendy Tue Jan 12 09:16:24 2016

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