Incorporating cover crop into your main season planting can be a great way to increase organic matter and nitrogen fixing, as well as to allow your soil to have a regenerative rest. These cover crops have a quicker turnaround, generally within 2 months, which can allow you to plant cash crops in the same location.
When choosing a variety of cover crops for main season plantings, it is important to prioritize ones that are fast growing and tolerant to heat. It's also beneficial to find ones that give you the same benefits of a fall or spring cover crop, such as nitrogen fixing, weed suppression and biomass, all in a shorter amount of time.
Our favorites to create a mix from for a main cover crop include: Buckwheat, Phacelia, Sudan Grass and Chickling Vetch. These should be planted after last frost in late spring into summer.
Buckwheat: Fast growing to suppress weeds, provides great biomass, grows well in most soils and requires little moisture, attracts beneficial bugs when flowering, 60 lb/acre, minimum germination soil temperature: 45F
Phacelia: Grows tall creating shade to stifle weeds, flowers attracting beneficial insects with purple flowers that bees and predatory insects love, can be inter-cropped as well as planted with a spring cover crop mix, 2 lb/acre, minimum germination soil temperature: 40F
Sudan Grass: Grows very tall, is an incredible organic-matter-adder and is fast-growing and heat-loving, tolerates drought once established, 40-50 lb/acre, minimum germination soil temperature: 60F
Chickling Vetch: This drought and frost tolerant vetch holds moisture in the soil, grows well in lighter soils, fixes nitrogen and grows up on all other components of the mix. Let grow for 60 days for full nitrogen capacity. It is recommended to lightly incorporate seeds into soil if broadcast sowing, 50-60 lb/acre, minimum germination temperature: 42F We are excited to announce that we just started carrying chickling vetch!
Just like any crop that can flower and go to seed, make sure to mow and incorporate these crops before seed stage to reduce the risk of creating weeds for subsequent seasons.
To view all of the cover crop varieties that we offer, click here.