Personal and quick responses to my questions, and the online SmartMix thingy is great fun, and a pretty good time suck, for seeing suggestions for your location.
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Although modern weed control methods have reduced the need for smother crops, buckwheat may still be useful for this purpose. Buckwheat is a good competitor because it germinates rapidly, and the dense leaf canopy soon shades the soil. This rapid growth soon smothers most weeds.
Buckwheat has been cited as a useful crop for control of quackgrass in the northeastern states, but rapid and complete control should not be expected. A heavy crop of buckwheat should smother most of the quackgrass if the land has been previously cultivated to break up the quackgrass sod, and then fall-or early spring-plowed and disked or field cultivated occasionally until planting time.
Other weeds may be more effectively controlled by growing buckwheat. Scientists have reported that the crop can be used to eradicate Canada thistle, sowthistle, creeping jenny, leafy spurge, Russian knapweed and perennial peppergrass (Marshall and Pomeranz).
Because of buckwheat's early competitiveness, it is not useful as a companion crop for establishing legumes.
If alfalfa is the desired plant to remain the buckwheat is questionable because it may smother the alfalfa. If it is to all be incorporated into the soil The alfalfa is probably not going to have as much input to justify the seed. You can plant them together but estimate the outcome in your soil conditions.
Scott Stiller wrote:Hello! Does anyone know if oats, alfalfa and buckwheat can be planted together?
Is the desire to simply use these for a chop and drop mulch?
If that is what you intend then yes indeed you can use this as a mix without having to worry too much about buckwheat smothering the others, they have sturdier stalks and grow fairly tall.
If you are wanting nitrogen fixation then you should add yellow (sweet) clover to the mix since it will sprout and hang around ready to grow strong once you cut the other plants down, so you have a second cover crop already going.
We love visitors, that's why we live in a secluded cabin deep in the woods. "Buzzard's Roost (Asnikiye Heca) Farm." Promoting permaculture to save our planet. you can call me Dr. Redhawk
I might be wrong about this, but doesn't alfalfa prefer a slightly alkaline soil, like a 7.6 or something?
I'm with Redhawk on the clover bit specifically, and more generally on the topic of considering the idea of stratification.
I think you could think about what you want to accomplish and compare that with the benefits of specific cover crops. Also to consider is the idea that you can occupy several levels in the same space, and different plants can occupy the same space in succession, as Redhawk indicated.
Why are you cover cropping? I mean, just to put roots in the soil is reason enough for the benefit to soil life and erosion control, but do you have specific goals? Are you going to be chopping and dropping, grazing something on it, or crimp rolling it down? What are you planning for the site?
Could you do as you suggest? Oh probably. But I think if you explained why you think these are good for your situation, what your situation is, and what you seek to accomplish, suggestions could be better tailored to you.
In any case, keep us posted, and good luck.
EDIT: Okay, so I just checked, and it is suggested that, for a new stand, the pH be at least 6.5. The suggestion was that they didn't like acidic soils.
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
-Robert A. Heinlein
I will also attest to the folks at Green Cover Seed. Deeply knowledgeable in no-till, cover-crop methodologies and can design mixes based on what your desired outcomes are and what your current conditions are. I would encourage you to give them a call.
Green Cover Seed
Here's their YouTube channel if you want to digest the extensive library about different kinds of cover crops, their options for use, etc. If you hear the term BMR, that's a reference to a plant that has a brown mid-rib structure to its leaf. Keep in mind, these videos are targeted to farmers who can speak slightly different language. I learn a ton when I watch their videos ... only a fraction of which I can apply to my specific setting and goals.
Companion to alfalfa: perennial ryegrass, meadow brome, tall fescue, oats
Companion to buckwheat: cowpeas, grain sorghum, brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli, peppers, squash; buckwheat can be used as a nurse (companion) crop with summer seedings of alfalfa or alfalfagrass mixtures much the way oats are used with spring seedings
Companion to oats: nearly any legume, orchard grass