Viewing post #1105796 by joseph
ArleneB: Thanks for asking. I've been meaning to do the math on cover crops.
I generally get my fields tilled the day before winter snow cover arrives... (which is a great time for planting winter rye).
It would require about 200 pounds of winter rye or wheat to seed my fields with a cover crop. So I either have to buy that, or grow it myself. I don't know if I'd be up to manually harvesting a patch of rye 100 feet long and 17 feet wide. Unless I hooked up with a farmer that would sell me bulk seed straight from the combine, it's too pricey to buy seed for cover crops.
Or perhaps I could get clever about how I grow rye... What if I grew rye as a companion crop with everything that I grow? And it took up about 1% to 2% of the growing space in the garden? That would produce the required number of seeds to fully plant a cover crop. Then in the fall I could just till the fields under whenever I get around to it, and the rye would germinate and create a lush cover crop for the winter. I already do that sorta, because the wheat and rye volunteer wherever I grew the patch last year. With this type of scenario I'd only have to harvest a pound or two of seed in order to replant the crop next year. That would sure change the appearance of my garden...
Thanks ArleneB. That was just the question I needed to figure out how to start growing cover crops.
Author of Mother Earth News Blog about Landrace Gardening: http://www.motherearthnews.com/search.aspx?tags= Lofthouse