When to Cut Down Your Cover Crop
If you planted a soil building cover crop in the fall and about half of the plants (the peas and vetch) are blooming, it is time to cut it down. The easiest and fastest way to incorporate all of the goodness of the cover crop is to cut it with a weed eater or mower, apply a product to speed up decomposition like our Biodynamic Field Spray, and turn it under with either a rototiller or garden fork. If you don’t add the Field Spray, then the cover crop should be allowed to decompose for about 3 to 6 weeks before planting your next crop. It’s important to wait because your cover crop will be decomposing and during this decomposition process you will temporarily lock up some of the nitrogen in the soil. If you don’t want to wait, the plant material that you cut down can be added to your compost pile to decompose. To also speed up break down is to cover it with some weed fabric or a silage tarp. This will heat up the soil and chopped cover crop and help increase decomposition. We have a great video on cutting down your cover crop in the spring.