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 Post subject: no till and cover crop
PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 5:08 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2007 12:18 pm
Posts: 344
Location: PA
How do you use a cover crop if you are not going to till?

Does it make sense to have a cover crop if you will not till it in?

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 5:35 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 5:35 pm
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Location: NH zone 4/5
I don't use a cover crop with permanently mulched beds.

When I did grow a cover crop I most often used annual rye, and tilled in the dead sod in the spring.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 7:19 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 9:43 am
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Location: Zone 5B Pennsylvania
I never did understand the value of cover crops other than erosion. Legumes are supposed to fix nitrogen but does not fungi do the same thing? :?:

John

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 9:34 am 
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Location: PNW
Cover crops help with the tilth of the soil. I like crimson clover and buckwheat because they're easy to take down without tilling. Buckwheat is a quick summer crop.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2008 1:03 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2007 12:18 pm
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Location: PA
Thank you for your replies. It is good to know that a cover crop does not necessarily require being tilled in.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2008 3:09 pm 
I think you're misunderstanding here. A cover crop, unless it's being planted perennially to still erosion, DOES have to be tilled in. That's the purpose of a cover crop.

If you don't plan on tilling it in, then there's absolutely no reason to grow a cover crop.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2008 4:02 pm 
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Location: PNW
No, you don't have to till everything in. Buckwheat for example can be chopped up easily with a shovel and worked into the soil a little. Some cover crop's root systems break up heavy soil and can be composted or left in place to break down, while their roots break down in the soil. Cover crops of any kind protect soil from the winter weather.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2008 4:45 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 9:43 am
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Location: Zone 5B Pennsylvania
At the risk of upsetting the cover crop gardeners and lasagna gardeners, I believe that it is better to remove any debris or cover crop from the SFG and compost it else ware. In the fall, I will refill the SFG to the rim with this summer’s compost to protect from MN and be ready to plant in the spring. You should leave the roots intact in the soil from the year’s growth though. This is where the fungi colonize.

John

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2008 5:11 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2006 6:02 pm
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Location: PNW
You won't upset me! :lol: I don't give advice as an absolute way of doing something, just tell what I do. That's what I enjoy about garden forums; seeing how others do things and learning new things to try.

In some states, leaving debris can leave a place for problem insects to multiply in great numbers. I get slugs, but they don't bother me that much since I know the soil will be much better at the end of our long rainy season and there will be less weeds to deal with. I like using fava bean cover crops since they survive the winter and protect the soil and then provide good compost material, if the deer don't eat them first. :roll: I haven't done it for a while since moles tend to mess it up for me, but I'm thinking about it this year since my soil could use some help.


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