[Market-farming] does rapeseed winterkill?

robert schuler sunnfarm at bellatlantic.net
Mon Jul 19 18:09:43 EDT 2004

Bob, oats make a good cover and  will winterkill in central Jersey but
it will be hard to establish in hot weather, oats is often used as a
nurse crop for alfalfa, where winter kill is needed to establish the
legume. Rape may not winterkill and since its in the cole crop family it
will mess up your rotation if you want to plant cabbage etc.
Buckwheat is a waste of money, lots of watery stems and little organic
Sudangrass is your best choice, seed it by August first and it will grow
6 feet tall by killing frost. Let it lay on soil and it will break down
easily in the spring. Soil that over wintered with sudangrass tills up
extra smooth and mellow in the spring...Bob
Sunny Meadow Farm
Bridgeton, NJ.

bob111higgins at comcast.net wrote:

> Hi All:
> I want to use cover crops that will winter kill so that I don't have a
> lot of heavy tilling to do in the spring, having only a small tiller
> and no tractor. (central NJ, zone 6) Looking to break up heavy clay,
> provide winter cover and organic matter, and possibly end up with some
> cover I can plant early crops into.
> I have used buckwheat before for the clay and for smothering weeds,
> but it also seems too wispy to help much with winter cover and spring
> mulch.
> Would like to also use oats and rapeseed. Does rapeseed winterkill? I
> think I remember Elliot Coleman recommending this as a good source of
> organic matter that would die off in cold weather -- but he lives in
> Maine. If yes, is there a specific variety I should plant -- since
> there are winter crops grown in the midwest for canola oil production?
> Thanks for any help -- I am learning tons from this list.
> Bob Higgins, Red Brick Farm, Hopewell, NJ
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