Charles Tarnard wrote:In places where I've adequately thinned, the intercropping has worked rather well. In places where I just let the stuff go like mad, they can choke out the plants a little.
I have buckwheat that I thinned (thought I removed) when I seeded a bed and they are all living happily together in a jungle of craziness. I have crimson clover that I only just thinned in a few other areas and things struggled there. I have some spring peas in places other places and they can be a problem because they're pretty grabby. If you try to thin the peas, they like to take things with them.
If you provide some decent space, or really let your actual crop get a good head start you'll probably be fine. I don't think two weeks will be enough lead time as most of my covers grew faster in their early stages than the crops they were planted around.
Charles Tarnard wrote:My space is very small, so that is exactly what I did. I did scythe the cover crops once or twice, but once I had plants I wanted in there that became pretty impractical. Scything was pretty much the same as mowing the grass, the peas and clover were hardly phased by it and only needed a few weeks recovery time.
I won't be using cover crops again during the growing season the way I did this year. If I do use them again, I'll wait until I see my crop seedlings establish then mix them in in a much lower concentration. My plan now is to use them as a place holder for beds from late fall through winter.
Just re-read the OP edit::: Where I live, there's no need to rake the seeds into the soil. If the soil is ready, the seeds of clover, buckwheat, and peas will put a root in it.
Peter Ellis wrote:On the "competiton" issue - it seems to me that I have read a number of discussions about how much plants benefit one another, rather than compete with one another where nutrition is concerned. Certainly watching Skeeter's videos, he is pursuing maximum photosynthesis, covering every inch with living plants as best he can.
I am under the impression that thorough vegetative cover saves more in terms of water than may be lost due to competition among plants.
I am currently operating under the theory that the only problem area of competition is sunlight, and so you want to plan for layers that can manage well at the layer where they will fit in your planting scheme. The other concern would relate to climbing tendencies and making sure climbers are matched with capable support plants. Don't really want the peas pulling down the rye, for example, but they might do well with jerusalem artichokes or sunflowers - probably need to give support plants a good head start too.
dan long wrote:
I am pretty confident that a permanent living mulch would be nothing but beneficial now.