Cover crops and early spring planting

Asked March 10, 2020, 10:37 AM EDT

Hello at end of last season , around november, i planted cover crops ( I think clover and oats) . Now , I tilled and raked the crops into the soil and Im ready to plant cool veggies. My questions: -- Do I need to till until no greens are visible from the cover crops? --Do i need to wait to direct sow cool veggies seeds? What about transplants? And do I need to add more nitrogen to plant cool veggies ( ie, peas, arugula, spinach, other greens)? Or is the Ni fixed from the cover crops enough?

On another topic, will there be a Grow-it-Eat-it event this year at the extension program?



Thanks !!

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

Tilling should have sufficiently stopped growth on the cover crops, though spreaders such as clover may re-sprout a bit from root sections. If so, these should be relatively easy to remove by hand as they appear, especially since their root system will be much reduced from the tilling. The veggie seeds can be sown as soon as the directions on the seed packets dictate (if timing ahead of the frost-free date is listed); otherwise, this calendar for MD vegetable gardening is useful for date ranges: https://extension.umd.edu/sites/extension.umd.edu/files/_docs/programs/grow_it_eat_it/Publications/GE007%20Vegetable%20Planting%20calendar%20for%20Central%20Maryland%202018.pdf.

More nitrogen shouldn't be needed outside of your routine fertilizer regime for the bed. As the cover crop breaks down slowly over time, its nitrogen content will add to what's available for the vegetables without overwhelming the soil.

Yes, there is information on the Grow-it-Eat-it event on this page: https://extension.umd.edu/news/grow-it-eat-it-2020-spring-open-house.

Miri