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Looking for specific info on cover crops

 
Charles Tarnard
Posts: 337
Location: PDX Zone 8b 1/6th acre
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I am trying to renovate my yard in such a way that runs permie, but looks traditional-ish. After digging out my french drain, I have enough soil for two mound beds and no plan for either. I also am still planning on digging grass away from some young trees in my parking strip. I have half a plan for those areas, but not a full plan and I will either need to replenish some soil or keep some grass rhizomes down.

I am only looking for your experiences, I know my results will depend on many factors. So the questions:

Will buckwheat or peas/oats look decent in an urban yard to a non permie if executed properly (these are the varieties of seed I've found locally, and I just hate pulling the trigger buying online)?

If I try to grow things within the cover crop, will it be choked out (right now I'm looking at artichokes and maybe some snow peas near my trees)?

Does anyone know of a better place to get cover seeds locally than Portland Nursery? If so is there a mix you recommend more than the above? I live on the eastside of Portland.

So much to do, but I'm really excited for growing season. Thank you for any response.
 
Charles Tarnard
Posts: 337
Location: PDX Zone 8b 1/6th acre
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I'm going to go ahead and bump this with some more detail. I have new beds (yay). They contain a lot of soil from my lawn (meh). If I load these new beds up with a cover crop to beat back the recovering grass, is it relatively easy to clear out sections for new plantings or seedings one at a time, or do they require a mass clearing to keep them from choking out your new plants? I will be penciling out my plot this week, but I am looking at some generic three sisters plantings, plus some possible sunflowers, amaranth, quinoa, borage, carrots, cucumbers, stevia, and quite a few others I'm forgetting at this time.

Thanks
 
George Meljon
Posts: 278
Location: Southern Indiana zone 5b
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Hi Charles, I will pass along what was given to me by a vet on permies, this publication on cover crops. http://www.northcentralsare.org/Educational-Resources/Books/Managing-Cover-Crops-Profitably-3rd-Edition/Text-Version/Table-of-Contents

Granted it is probably meant for larger projects, but check out the chart section, which will give you a great idea of the characteristics of the cover crops you are looking at including if it is going to suppress surrounding plants. But first select your region. I really recommend going straight for the chart section, as it cuts right to it and provides the characteristics of each cover crop.

As for the look, that will depend on the artisan. I think Paul Wheaton's try 100 things and see what works rule may be apt for the appearance factor. Pack in a bunch of plants and chop out what you don't like or need or think will add fertility once it's chopped.

Rock on!
 
Charles Tarnard
Posts: 337
Location: PDX Zone 8b 1/6th acre
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That was a very helpful start. Thank you.

If I get no advice, I'll try something for sure; maybe more than one somethings . We'll just see how successful it is.
 
John Polk
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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A good place to look for cover crop seeds around Portland is Concentrates NW

They are just SE of Portland (in Milwaukie). They sell a lot to organic (and conventional) farmers, and their prices beat any 'home garden center'. They sell a lot of ground cover seeds by the pound (and probably fractions of pounds). As you glance down that price list, you may decide that they are a place to visit each spring - and any other time you need more than just a 'little bit'.

Great store for people growing in the region.

 
Charles Tarnard
Posts: 337
Location: PDX Zone 8b 1/6th acre
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Man, everyone here is the best. That looks like the kind of place I've been wondering about, but didn't know where to look. Thank you.
 
Lane Morgan
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Corn salad (mache) can be a nice cover crop when you don't want to scare the neighbors. It's hardy in your zone, edible, self-seeding, low-growing and attractive (at least to me). I use buckwheat for a quick cover crop on beds because it grows fast and is easy to clear out for planting. Buckwheat leaves can go in salads--best when they are young.
 
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