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following buckwheat with fall rye

 
Colin Thomas
Posts: 21
Location: Castlegar, B.C. Zone 6a-6b
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I am about to cut down my buckwheat cover crop and return it to the soil as a green manure. I plan to follow it with some fall rye and I need your input on which method to use.

1. Broadcast rye seed then cut and chop in the buckwheat, finish rake
2. Broadcast rye seed then only lay the buckwheat down on top of the soil
3. Cut down and chop in the buckwheat, then broadcast rye seed and rake in
4. Other

Any input would be great.

Also would hairy vetch still be ok to plant this late in the season with the rye. I am in Castlegar B.C. in Zone 5a/b.

Thanks

Colin
 
Alison Thomas
pollinator
Posts: 933
Location: France
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I'm afraid that I don't have any suggestions but I'm watching to see what advice comes back as this is of interest to me too.
 
Rob Sigg
Posts: 715
Location: PA-Zone 6
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I havent done rye, but have done oats. I had success broadcasting seeds, putting chopped greens on top and raking in lightly. I made sure that the greens on top acted like a mulch to keep the ground damp underneath, that seemed to work really well. This was done in the spring, not the fall.

I am curious if you have ever let your buckwheat go to seed before you till it in so you dont have to rebroadcast the following season? I am trying to do this with several things, but Im not sure if those seeds will germinate before winter, if they do then its pointless. Im also curious if the rye germinates before winter and then regrows in spring or if the seed just lays dormant there. I want to do this with oats, but this is my first year for a fall sowing.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
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My first inclination would be to try #2, maybe even waiting a couple days between sowing the rye and cutting the buckwheat.

I have read that rye germinates at much lower temperatures than other small grains, and that winter rye is adapted to pass the winter as a small, dormant plant.
 
Colin Thomas
Posts: 21
Location: Castlegar, B.C. Zone 6a-6b
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Sorry it took so long for me to reply back. I have been working long hours at my job and we have guests from Germany at the house. 

Thanks for all the replies. Curiosity got the best of me so I decided to try all the methods out and I will report back with the results.

This was my first year growing cover crops and it was quite easy. They germinate and grow so fast and I can tell they are already improving the soil.

Pics can be seen here

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=316030&id=747135608&l=730c0646c6

 
Rob Sigg
Posts: 715
Location: PA-Zone 6
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Nice pics and Im glad to see that lawn go! Im really starting to appreciate buckwheat more and more.
 
Mekka Pakanohida
Posts: 383
Location: Zone 9 - Coastal Oregon
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Rob S. aka Blitz wrote:

I am curious if you have ever let your buckwheat go to seed before you till it in so you dont have to rebroadcast the following season?


Buckwheat here on the Southern Oregon Coast went to seed, and has started growing back up in some places after it was chopped down.  I suspect I will see it again in the spring.
 
Rob Sigg
Posts: 715
Location: PA-Zone 6
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Thanks for the info. What zone are you in? Im curious if I can do that.
 
                  
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Looks to me like the buckwheat is also strong enough to keep out all kinds of weeds, including grasses.  I wonder if this is a good method to use when one doesn't want to turn over the soil and instead use the non dig method of gardening.  I sometimes use creepers like sedum to take over an area, wander for ages then rip it up to sow with something I really wanted.  The sedum goes into the compost and is good and wet enough to rot up on one season and doesn't have seeds that come back from the soil. 

I too am going to put in some seeds which can grow in colder weather.  My zone is 5 so it'll have to be winter wheat.  Soil is sandy and acidic because I have lots of pine trees and the yield of veg was poor.  I want the beige soil to look black and retain water, especially from the competition from all the tree roots and in prep for a repeat in 2011 of those hot dry weeks we went through this past summer. 

Comfrey is not easy to come by, so I wonder if buckwheat would be better.  Sometimes old cupboard cleanup beans and seeds might do as a replacement.
 
Aljaz Plankl
Posts: 384
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Winter cereals (rye, spelt, wheat) sown in fall 2009 are already self reseeded this year. When they were mature in end of July this year i was harvesting them little by little. So many ripe seeds fell down till the end of august when i harvested them all. Some seeds were also broadcasted onto same patches. Straw was chopped and dropped on the spot. Plants are quite established already. Traditionally they are sown in mid october, so i wonder if mine are maybe too big. I'll see.
I also left some alone and i can see at this time mature seeds germinating on stalks. Quite interesting.
 
Colin Thomas
Posts: 21
Location: Castlegar, B.C. Zone 6a-6b
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I just remembered this post and that I promised I would share my results. For those who are interested method #1 gave me a fast germination of just a few days and a fairly consistent coverage. Method #2 which is mimics nature the most seem to be the worst of all three. Germination was slower (less soil contact), as was growth (had to grow through mulch) but the main difference to me was it lead to a few patchy areas (perhaps a broadcasting error) where the grass really came back. Method #3 was the best.

The end product came out the same or so it seems. The only thing I can take away is if I need a fast germination and good coverage use #3. If I don’t have the time and want to do less labour choose method #2.

Not really scientific but that is not who I am.

Colin
 
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