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Cover Crop Advice for starting on existing soil: Grass or Cover Crop Mix?

 
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About a month or so ago, my family and I purchased a new home with 2.5 acres. I am so stoked to get going on this terrain and make it an abundant paradise!  

I'm located in the Texas Hill Country (8a) with very rocky soil that tends to be very alkaline.  Most folks around here, if they plant anything, start hay/grasses in January and then maybe very rarely do cover crops in late August.  While I don't have my goals totally concrete as of yet, I know soil heath and fertility are going to be the foundation that everything will be built on. I know I need to build a lot of soil mass on top of all this rock and get it full of organic material to help get through the hot dry and long summers.  

I talked with a local feed store about cover crops and was informed those are far past date.  However, grass mixes will come available in January. One mix has Kleingrass, Sideoats Grama, Wilman Lovegrass, Spar Bluestem, Annual Ryegrass, Green Sprangletop, Canada Wildrye, Teff Grass, and Tall Wheatgrass.  Eventually, I'm hoping at some point this year to start tractoring chickens but that will still be a ways off as budget allows.  Eventually, years ahead, I would love to perhaps even have a small dairy cow, but I understand that may not be feasible on such small acreage.  

My question is: Looking at getting something in the ground early 2021 and not having to wait for a whole year, would it be better to shoot for a grass mix or a soil building cover crop mix?  I also want to get some compost tea going to charge up the soil life, but it will probably be later like March before I could have that ready. I am also looking at adding wild flowers into the mix later on at the appropriate time next year but I'm curious what is going to come up as it is naturally.  

My first thought is to try perhaps mixing a bit of the two and seeding an acre or a much as budget will allow with that. Then perhaps some smaller sections I can do with pollinator mixes.  I just don't know if the cover crop mixes (ie clover, vetch, rye, barley, etc) will be strangled out by the grasses.  

Last bit of info, the ground has not been tended for a while and has a lot of natural grass, some smaller broadleaf species in spots and lots of young cactus.  A smattering of oaks (many dead or dying with oak wilt, future hugels or bbq) are scattered about.  There is only a small fenced in backyard and the rest is open to grazing by the local deer hoards.  I haven't done a soil test yet either so no additional info on that account.    

Thanks for any and all advice.  
 
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Winter rye makes a great cover crop that dies back when the weather warms up.  We used it on our other property every winter. I don't think it is too late to plant winter rye.

White clover is a good cover crop choice at the appropriate time of year.

This would be a good choice though I am not sure what time of year to plant:

It is called Caliche Mix and is a mix of native grasses:

Blue Grama
 Buffalograss
 Green Sprangletop
 Indiangrass
 Little Bluestem
 Prairie Wildrye
 Sand Lovegrass
 Sideoats Grama
 Sand Dropseed
 Texas Cupgrass
 Curly Mesquite
 White Tridens
 Red Lovegrass
 Slim Tridens
 Purple Three-Awn



https://www.seedsource.com/catalog/detail.asp?product_id=2860

This company is located in the Hill Country and they are very knowledgable so they will be able to answer your questions.
 
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I second the suggestion for rye, where I am at in TN annual ryegrass will come up any time of year.
 
Cameron Carter
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Thanks for the responses. Im definaitely going to keep rye in the mix.  As for the actual seeding, since I dont have any sort of machinery, should I trim down the existing grasses, spread the seed and then rake in?  Think only doing an acre max this year to experiment on since that is a lot of raking!
 
Anne Miller
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If I remember correctly, all we did was broadcast the seed and water it in.

You might try both methods on different areas and see what works best.
 
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