We have a mix of clover, daikon and rye I would like to introduce in order to build up organic material. I know I should have put cover crops in in the fall but Im not worried about growing that area this summer so is it possible to plant an early spring cover crop using the mix I have or do I need to move towards a different cover crop?
I don't know about the rye and clover, though.
dutch clover (n-fixer)
forage chicory and daikon radish
thyme family and carrot family
(I know that there is suppose to be some biomass/grass family plants too, I have never planted them myself due to my tiny scale I just get free woodchip, but I have heard that rye/wheat/oats are good)
What would you approximate your last frost date to be? South facing hills are really important. I've read that for every 5 degrees your south facing hill is sloped, it's the equivalent of being located 150 miles further south. So a 15 degree slope would be like living 450 miles south of your actual location.
I use a cool season nitrogen fixing mix from Peaceful Valley Farm Supply. They've got a great mix of different cover crop seeds. https://www.groworganic.com I'm in zone 9B, so it's worlds away from where you are at, but I used to live in Tacoma and we were able to keep a cover crop growing 9 to 10 months a year there. Some brassicas can take some frost and still keep growing.
You'll want a mix of both broad leaf plants as well as grasses, and you'll want to buy a bag of bacterial inoculant to assure that they fix N. The mix I get has all sorts of different legumes, vetches, oats, radishes and other stuff.
Kind of off-topic, but here's where you can find maps of state ecoregions: https://www.epa.gov/eco-research/ecoregion-download-files-state-region-10
and, screenshot of Washington Ecoregion map
Normally rye and daikon radishes are fall grown: the daikon radishes root enters the soul deeply and the rye will put on a lot of growth in the fall and colder weather and lower light conditions. The crimson clover may add some benefit but the growth will be modest and unable to compete with radish and rye. The latter two collect nitrogen that would otherwise be lost.
PS, pigs do wonders to ot to!
Scott Davison wrote:My partner and I just moved onto 40 acres in December in Klickitat Wa. We have a south and south east facing 7 acres we are planning to grow and want to build up the soil. It is rocky with oaks and grass at this time.
We have a mix of clover, daikon and rye I would like to introduce in order to build up organic material. I know I should have put cover crops in in the fall but I'm not worried about growing that area this summer so is it possible to plant an early spring cover crop using the mix I have or do I need to move towards a different cover crop? Scott-
Probably it will have 3 months to grow before the heat and drought kill it back. Is the grass sparse enough to not give good cover to the soil over the summer? Is the freeze/thaw snowmelt making enough disturbance to incorporate the seed? Is the soil too rocky for practical cultivation to incorporate the seed? There is the possibility that some of the plants will mature enough to reseed for a fall cover crop.
You have to do the cost/benefit analysis of trying it or saving the seed for fall but at least a partial trial would give you observational information for the future.