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In my sunchoke patch, I'm using grass as a cover crop for no till purposes. Is this a bad idea?

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  • Are we discussing cold season turfgrass species? – J. Musser Aug 2 '16 at 0:24
  • native grass, i don't know what type – black thumb Aug 2 '16 at 2:30
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    Cover crops are always ANNUALS. Buckwheat, annual rye, but they have to be an annual that gets turned under early spring a good month before planting. What the heck does no till mean? The only way to turn over a cover crop is by using a shovel and allow to decompose before raking smooth. If you have any clay in your soil, you definitely do not want to rototill...! Just any old grass will become a 'weed'. I'd turn that stuff over right now and cover with at least 3 inches of soil, or more. – stormy Aug 3 '16 at 5:11
  • I was going to apply that concept with an annual cleaning to pull up the grass before I pull up the sunchokes. – black thumb Aug 3 '16 at 6:04
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That should be just fine in the off season (when you aren't growing anything), so long as you're aware of the grass' growth stages. You might not want wild grasses going to seed in your beds, or they may germinate there throughout the next season and create extra work. I'd get them cut before they go to seed.

Also, if it's a runner/stolon spreading perennial grass, such as Bermudagrass, I'd keep it away from the beds completely. They are often very competitive growers and will be a constant pain when you're trying to grow a crop.

And it's generally a poor idea to grow covers under a crop plant, as they will lower your yield.

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