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The right type of Clover?  RSS feed

 
              
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A large section of my back yard is just dirt at the moment.  I am planning on extending my veg garden next spring.  I was wondering about putting some clover on that section as a cover crop.  I was planning on roto tilling the whole area in the spring.

Is there a type of clover that would work best for this, and is it to late in the season to seed clover?
 
paul wheaton
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Why clover?  Why not some other kind of legume?  I would probably go with peas.  They grow fast and can make a dense biomass ...  How cold does it get where you are?
 
              
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I've only been here for one winter, and it was a very cold one, then very wet.  Our average lows in the winter are right around 32-33 degrees.  It dipped down in the high twenties a few times last winter.

I always hear clover being used as a cover crop, which is why it came to mind.  Another thing to take into account would be soil prep.  I've got some fairly heavy clay I'm dealing with, and I wasn't planning on doing all that much to it before the spring (other home projects going on right now).

Would peas or clover (something else?) be okay with just direct seeding? 
 
Leah Sattler
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maybe this chart can help....

http://www.johnnyseeds.com/pdf/08CoverCrops.pdf
 
              
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That is a great little chart.  Thanks.
 
Kelda Miller
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fava beans have highly edible leaves=edible cover crop! as are one of the clovers, i'll ask which one and get back to you.
...just in case you'd like to be able to eat something this winter without much hassle
 
Kelda Miller
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ha! austrian field pea leaves are edible too. and the shoots
 
Dave Boehnlein
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I'm a big fan of crimson clover. It works well as an overwintering cover crop (in the PNW) and it's annual.

Also, if you didn't get around to tilling it in the spring it would make for a really beautiful patch of flowers.

Dave
 
Susan Monroe
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You could always plant a mix of cover crops that are suitable for cool weather.  If you are in the PNW, you might want to check your lime, magnesium and calcium levels, too.  If they're low, you might want to add some dolomite lime when you rough up the soil to plant. 

Sue
 
              
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Are all clovers annual?

If they are I assume they self seed fairly well because there was clover in my yard as a kid that never seemed to die off.
 
Susan Monroe
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Some are perennial and some are annual.  If either kind  aren't mowed before going to seed, both will reseed if given a long enough growing season.

Some frost-sensitive cover crops are sown in late summer or fall, too late to go to seed so they will winter-kill without reproducing.

Here is some info on kinds of clovers:  http://www.baileyseed.com/clover.asp

Sue
 
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