I planted some winter rye last fall to hold a patch of soil over the winter. Planned to mow it, but spring came, summer came, and I still haven't cut it down. It's got beautiful fat seed heads on it now.

How do I know when these are ready to harvest (as viable seed) so I can use them for future cover crops?


The seed-heads will turn a tan colour, this is an indication the seeds themselves are ready for harvesting.

The mature seeds within, will be tan or brown (depending on the exact variety).

The mature seeds will come away easily from the seed-heads when you "gently" grasp just below the seed-head and pull upwards.

  • So... almost exactly like the oats I just harvested! – bstpierre Aug 3 '11 at 1:38
  • @bstpierre, yes, as I believe (nearly) all "grass" type crops behave basically the same... – Mike Perry Aug 3 '11 at 2:54

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