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Q: Cover Crop (Green Manure) in Indiana

Nov 02, 2009 -

Question:

Hello,

I’m starting an organic micro-farm in northern Indiana.  The first season is going to be the spring of 2010.  I’m wanting to plant a cover crop and a friend of mine that runs a micro-farm in Colorado recommended you to me and said that I should email or give you a call.  I have two plots that I’ve tilled.  One plot is approximately 80’x40’ and the second is 36’x36’.  Both  plots do contain some clay soil.  What  do you recommend as far as a cover crop for northern Indiana?  And how much seed should I order from you?

Thank you very much for your time.

Answer:

Congratulations on your new farm!
Assuming you have very low temperatures in Indiana I would say one possibility would be our Cold Zone Soil Builder Mix.  It is made up of 85% Hairy Vetch and 15% Cereal Rye which can handle temperatures below 20 degrees fahrenheit.  It’s hardy and in combination with inoculant, will fix nitrogen that will be plant available.  The Hairy Vetch does need 55-60 degrees to germinate.  Rye can germinate down to 34F.  Red Clover is another possibility.  I’ve listed a couple pages from our catalog on the website that you can look over.

http://groworganic.com/cold-zone-soil-builder-mix-raw-lb.html

http://groworganic.com/cereal-rye-lb.html

http://groworganic.com/red-clover-doublecut-rhizocoated-lb.html

The Red Clover can tolerate down to 0 degrees.  You have many choices if you wanted to plant in early spring but these three I’ve listed should be ok to plant now.  I wouldn’t wait to long to get them in the ground.

You have a total of 4,496 square feet so if you went with the Cold Zone Soil Builder you would need. 12-15 lbs.  The Red Double-cut Clover would be 5-6 lbs.

Hope this helps



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