I am currently working as a market gardener and we are trying to set up permanent perennial flower beds in our garden to attract beneficials. We are planning on starting some flowers from seed to transplant into the bed, and other flowers/herbs we would like to experiment with direct seeding. To compete with weeds, we were thinking about using crimson clover as a cover crop and then flail mowing it and transplanting into the mulch. Would this work? What about direct seeding into the mowed clover? Ideally we would like to go ahead and add a cover crop asap before the spring weeds. Any other recommendations as to what we could seed into the beds? Right now they are covered with leaf mulch.
Should we go for a lower growing clover like white dutch? Would this work both for transplanting and direct seeding?
I've attached the rough plan for which flowers we want to grow.
I can't recommend just one cover plant since you are going to have areas of low growing product plants and high growers.
For the low growing plants you can use regular mulches like straw, mowed grasses, not even dutch white clover would grow short enough for these plantings.
For the taller plants, you can use crimson clover, red clover, sweet (yellow) clover, or even alfalfa for chop and drop/ plant through mulches.
Keep in mind on the clovers that if they go to seed they will reseed somewhat and that will give you a fall crop to repeat the chop and drop just before winter.
Other things you can use for winter, that can then be chopped in early spring are Wheat, Cereal Rye, Buckwheat and Barley, these all are seeded around October and will grow to around 8 inches tall and stop.
They can be left as is at that point since they won't restart their growth until the weather begins to warm.
Many farmers will plant these and then let cattle graze them during the winter months since they will grow back to their 8 inch height over and over during the winter months.
Look at how your crop plants roots grow, the adult height, and spreading habits to be able to decide on the best fit items for "cover cropping and creating mulches".