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Cover Cropping over my lawn?

 
Kirtus Struthers
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So I just received 2 pounds of cover crops in the mail. One each of White Clover and Annual Ryegrass. I want to replace my front lawn with these. What is the least labor intensive way to do this?

 
Miles Flansburg
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Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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Howdy Kirtus, welcome to permies!

First tell us a little history of your current lawn. What type of grass is it? Does it have weeds in it? Has it ever had weed killers put on it? Is it a thick healthy lawn or are there bare spots?

What zone are you in?
 
Kirtus Struthers
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Miles Flansburg wrote:Howdy Kirtus, welcome to permies!

First tell us a little history of your current lawn. What type of grass is it? Does it have weeds in it? Has it ever had weed killers put on it? Is it a thick healthy lawn or are there bare spots?

What zone are you in?


These are all really good questions and I will answer the ones I know the answers to.
What type of grass is it?: No idea (Green? LOL)
Does it have weeds in it?: Yes lots
Has it ever had week killers put on it? Not sure but definitely not in the last 4 years.
Is it a thick healthy lawn or are there bare spots?: Mostly thick healthy lawn and weeds. There are a couple of bare spots where I removed some pine trees last year.
What zone are you in?: 6a (Grand Rapids, MI)

The following is the response that I received on the community board at the geoff lawton Online PDC:

Well i think to really get the answer you are looking for requires more parameters to answer fully as what is the least work might not be acceptable in term of length of time or resources available. Not trying to pick i just think some more info would be a huge help in answering your question fully.
A few things you might want to consider trying might be using cardboard and mulch to first control and kill off the majority of the grass before heavily seeding with your cover crops several months later. This one will take quite a long time but as for actual work its mostly on the front end. It takes time but it gives a huge advantage in controlling that grass from the get go and not wasting your initial efforts or having to invest a lot of ongoing time to maintain and improve the sytem you are working to establish. Even with this method you will still end up with grass its unavoidable imho. But overall i think its probably your best option if you dont mind waiting.
Another option that would be faster but which might be unrealistic for you is to intensively crash graze the area with chickens, goats, sheep or cows (not only options but prolly the best ones to start looking at if this seems like the way you want to go. Once the area has been prepared, the grass stressed and mostly removed, and the animals removed, it would be ready for your cover crop and any other plantings you wanted to do. This method has many advantages, the animals do most of the labor, they provide returns in different forms from eggs to wool to meat, and money saved on feed. As well your land is fertilized with manure in advance of your crop being planted. The level of control over the grass though is gonna be a lot lower and require more time in the long run as not all animals will destroy the seeds that pass through their guts and the crash grazing is not gonna remove it all. But it does allow your cover crops to penetrate the matt of grass, lowers the level of competiton in favor of your crops and gives them a fighting chance at thriving.
And the last option i figure i should mention would be to just sow your seeds directly and do whatever you are willing to do to help them succeed. Not much labor involved but the efficacy of your efforts is going to be very minimal.
Anyways hope that helps and gets the conversation started ad wish you the best in your project


And here is my response:

Thank you Dan, those are exactly the same options that I came up with. I would love to do the chicken/animal tractor but I am in the city so not as easy as I would like it to be. I might still end up doing that but not untill fall if I do.
I am sheet mulching parts of the lawn already near my fruit trees but I don't have enough material to do much more than that. But I will probubly just gather materials over the summer and do chunks untill it is all done.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. I was hoping you would tell me that your final option would yeild better results that I and clearly you expect. But alas the quote easy way is never really the easy way. Always ends up being more work in the end.
Kirtus


Thank you very much for your response looking forward to hear your opinion.

Kirtus
 
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