• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Mike Haasl
  • paul wheaton
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Dave Burton
  • Joseph Lofthouse
master gardeners:
  • jordan barton
  • Greg Martin
  • Carla Burke
  • Ash Jackson
  • Kate Downham

Using hairy vetch during the summer: possible?

Posts: 24
Location: Denver, CO
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi All,

Starting this spring I'm going to open up some new ground against the south facing garage wall that will eventually become a greenhouse ready for planting in this autumn. The ground is currently under black plastic since September to kill off some weeds and i'll leave that on for most of the spring.

I'd like to plant a cover crop on it over the summer and I think vetch might be a good option, but I can't find any instance of using vetch this way. I can't imagine why it wouldn't work. It will grow fast, get big and I'll cut it at flowering, just like one would if it was planted in autumn like usual. I might even be able to get 2 crops in before I really need to get in there and start construction and prep the beds. Am I missing something about vetch? Does it require a winter? Does anyone know how long it takes to flower when planted in the summer like this? IF vetch is a bad idea can you recommend another legume that will help the soil, suppress weeds, and provide huge biomass for my compost?

Posts: 49
Location: Louisville, KY
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My understandings is that vetch is a cool season crop. Cool season annuals don't want to germinate or live in hot weather typically -especially along a south facing wall. There are other legumes like cowpeas and black eyed peas and various beans that grow fine in summer. Why not plant a mix, to achieve each of your aims more effectively? You could do cowpea in early summer, then later under sown with buckwheat or Sudan grass, or something that grows quickly with tons of bio mass.
Posts: 63
Location: North Idaho, zone 5a
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have hairy vetch growing naturally in a few spots, preferring partial sun. I do not water it, but it appears to be doing just fine. I guess you will need to water it from time to time.
Posts: 59
Location: North Carolina
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

I grow hairy vetch (Vicia villosa) as a winter cover in zone 7b. I chop and drop most of it, but let some go to seed for saving. Inevitably, some of the pods always shatter before harvest. Volunteers come up a while later and persist through the hot and dry season. They don't put on much growth though, only about a foot. Then they sit idle until the cool season begins again.

Hope this helps you out.
Who among you feels worthy enough to be my best friend? Test 1 is to read this tiny ad:
Sepp Holzer's 3-in-1 Permaculture documentaries (Farming, Terraces, and Aquaculture) streaming video
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic