[Market-farming] does rapeseed winterkill?

Nan Johnson nan at olemiss.edu
Mon Jul 19 20:30:39 EDT 2004


Buckwheat CAN be useful if you have "bare" spots and don't have another warm season crop ready yet to direct seed or transplant.  It can keep ALOT of summer weeds at bay (except for bermuda grass, or nut sedge...hah!) It broadcasts easily and establishes QUICKLY, even on poor clay soil (mine) and if you let it go to bloom stage evidently beneficials really like it!  For those doing raised beds and not using tractors, it is quite easy to kill or just let it die out and don't till in for a nice mulch for summer crops.  Mine kept going till November in Mississippi.  We used in Mass. in the summer all the time also.

nan at dancing goats farm
n. mississippi zone 7b
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: robert schuler 
  To: Market Farming 
  Sent: Monday, July 19, 2004 3:09 PM
  Subject: Re: [Market-farming] does rapeseed winterkill?


  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 matter. 
  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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