Cover crops
  • Last summer we cleared several acres of woodland, and in late July we had the stumps pulled and the roots mulched (shredded). We put the land into an annual rye cover for its weed suppressant qualities and to keep the soil more or less fixed until snowfly. Since we are not planning to be on the land until summer of 2015, we want to put in a cover crop again this coming summer. Presently we are considering field peas or buckwheat. Does anyone out there have experience with either of these?

    We have not had a soil test done yet because we will till in the char from a big slash pile that is to be burnt soon, and that would change the results of any test significantly. What we're looking to do is build up the soil before we need to depend on it for sustenance and income. Any suggestions?
  • Sure sounds like a big project! a couple of things you might consider before planting is what crops do you intend to plant once you put it into production? What cultural practices will you be using? and What difficulties were you seeing on the land before you cleared it.
    I like using Buckwheat if there is a weed problem because it smothers just about everything. Also due to its short life cycle you can get in one to two plantings depending on where you live. Your soil test will really help determine what cover-crops to use. If your test come back low in OM you will want to use cover crops that will add OM if it comes back with nutrient deficiencies of course you will want to look at crops that will help you address that problem and so on. Depending on your cultural practices I can tell you from my experience that annual rye is a little difficult to kill off in the spring, it was like fighting medusa I would knock it down and two days later it was raising back up twice as strong OK maybe not quite that bad but since I was just knocking it down to transplant into instead of cutting it, it took a bit to kill it. Anyway just a couple of thoughts. If you could add what planting zone you're in and what crops you plan to put in (IE. Annual, Perennial, Orchard) that would be helpful
    Jeb
    Zone 7 WA