Photos and text by Debbie Roos, Agricultural Extension Agent.
Soil Management and Planting
Rye cover crop strips in early April. Cover crops are a vital part of the rotation at Perry-winkle Farm. Rye is allelopathic – as it decomposes, it releases a compound into the soil that prevents small weed seeds from germinating. It also adds organic matter to the soil and acts as a windbreak for tender crops. Beans were later planted between the rows of rye.
Snap beans are direct-seeded in between rows of a rye and vetch cover crop in late April.
One month later, the cover crop has been mowed and the beans are taking off.
Early May view of a field planted in rye, vetch, and crimson clover. This is a great mixture: the vetch is a legume that loves to climb and uses the rye for support. Crimson clover, another legume, provides much needed nitrogen for following crops. Cool-season cover crops are planted in September and October but put on most of their growth in the spring.