spring cover crop?

Asked January 4, 2017, 9:40 AM EST

Hi there, well once again I failed at my goal of getting a fall cover crop onto my garden. I am wondering if I could do a spring cover crop. I have an established fenced garden with raised beds and decent soil, as well as a new auxiliary plot which is super weedy and not great soil. If I use the auxiliary plot for later planting, could I get a spring cover crop in, and if so what would you suggest and when should I plant it? Can I till remaining weeds in or smother them or must I pull them out? My fall plan was winter oats in the raised beds and crimson clover in the bigger weedy plot. Thank you so much for your advice!

Baltimore County Maryland cover crops crimson clover raised beds vegetable winter oats weeds before cover crops cover crops and weeds

1 Response

Our website has a good page on cover crops and a very helpful chart that should help you select and time your cover crop planting: http://extension.umd.edu/growit/beyond-basics/cover-crops-protect-and-improve-your-soil

How you remove weeds will depend on what weeds you are battling. Weed seeds that you can cut off (big seed heads) would be worth removing by hand.
Annual weeds active now will need to be smothered or tilled under (or hand pulled). Perennial weeds also need to be removed. Tilling turns up more weed seeds in the soil, so if you can easily smother the weeds, it would be worth choosing that strategy.
Here is some info about weed control in vegetable gardens: http://extension.umd.edu/growit/food-gardening-101/step-5-taking-care-your-garden#weeds

ECN