Sparrow and Finch Gardening Improve Your Soil With a Winter Rye Cover Crop

Improve Your Soil With a Winter Rye Cover Crop

Winter rye is a prevalent cover crop planted in the fall, can improve the soil, ward off the growth of weeds, increase organic matter, and sprout at conditions as cold as.

The winter rye seed heads that are sown directly into the soil in fall will develop to maturity in the spring following.

Winter Rye, a very popular cover crop that is planted in the fall, can enhance your soil, ward off the growth of weeds, increase organic matter, and sprout at temperatures as low as 34°F.

One of the best options to plant a cold-hardy cover crop is winter rye ( Secale cereale) is the grain that is that is used to make the flour rye (not Ryegrass that is a different plant). Winter rye, also referred to as cereal rye is a fan of cold temperatures, and is easily adapted, cheap and easy to sow. According to the book Managing Cover Crops efficiently released through the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, rye can grow at temperatures that are as low as 34 degrees Fahrenheit. It will continue to thrive throughout the winter when temperatures are above 38 degrees. It will ward off winter weeds, increase the soil’s texture, increase organic matter, stop erosion, and draw beneficial insects in next spring. It’s also a fantastic winter pasture for chickensand you can cut the leaves regularly for feeding to your animals.

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How to Save Your Own Winter Rye Seeds

Cover crop seeds ordered by mail can be costly, but preserving yourself the cost of winter rye seeds is simple. Request seed via mail in the event that you are unable to locate local suppliers and sow it in the fall. It will grow the spring of the next year until June and then it will begin to produce heads of seeds. Cut off the seed heads and, after removing seeds out of the heads, you can plant the heads in autumn (see image above left). Rye that is mature are easy to kill once harvesting their seed heads. Cut the stems to the soil’s level using the serrated harvest sickle or a large knife, using the straw to make the mulch, or compost. (If you don’t have sickles, Earth Tools provides a good Italian-made model Check out”SHW” category “SHW” category.)

Cover crops that are grown in unproductive beds is among the most effective options to improve the soil. To find out more about sowing rye, as well as different kinds covers crops strongly would recommend reading the SARE book I mentioned earlier; it’s available for free online.

Cheryl Long is the former editor in chief of MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine, and a leading advocate for more sustainable lifestyles. Long lives on an 8-acre homestead near Topeka, Kan., powered in part by solar panels, where she manages a large organic garden and a small flock of heritage chickens. Prior to taking the helm at MOTHER EARTH NEWS , she was an editor at Organic Gardening magazine for 10 years.


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