8

Your idea of green manure in winter is a good one, beans help put some nitrogen back into the soil. Otherwise the most simple rule for rotation is to leave it a while between plantings of things in the same family. Some do yearly rotation, some do seasonal. I just have 2 beds for veggies, so my rotation this year looks something like this, I've also included ...


6

Fava beans are a favored fall cover crop because they enrich the soil, protect against nutrient loss, feed the rhizobacteria, and produce a high protein food. It's usually sewed straight after your summer crop so that you get a month or so of growth and nitrogen fixation before the cold weather sets in slowing growth down. It should be cut to the ground ...


5

Answering for your location (Minnesota, zone 4a), so as to keep this answer contained. In your climate, you'll get the most biomass from a summer season cover crop. Of course that will make it hard to grow food crops, unless you stagger beds, and use more square footage than you would need for a single food crop. The winter cover crops that aren't winter ...


5

I've done it. Basically, the hardest part is turning it under in such limited space, I used a spade. In a raised bed, there are easier ways to improve the soil, like turning in finished compost. Also, the allelopathic effect of most over-winter cover crops means that you'll have to wait 2-3 weeks after turning under for unaffected germination. You are in ...


4

In the summer, soybeans are usually my first choice, as they sprout and grow fast, and add about 30-50 lbs of nitrogen per acre. Red clover grows a little slower, but holds the soil together and adds about 70 lbs of nitrogen/acre in a year, if plowed under. Alfalfa and vetch are slower, but can add over 100 lbs Sometimes over 150 lbs) of nitrogen per acre in ...


4

A couple of alternate options: plant a cover crop that winterkills (assuming you have adequate time to get it grown a bit before winterkill - you might actually provide the bed with a cover to try and extend the time of growth) which will protect the soil surface, suppress weeds and tie up nitrogen in decomposing the cover crop, but be less trouble to turn ...


4

White clover is a good green manure for shade and will grow in low nitrogen, compacted soil. Generally, compacted soil is lacking in calcium and will need lime or gypsum.


3

My favorite ground cover to use is Vinca, but it is invasive so I would need to be contained, either by hand trimming or spraying the edges as it encroaches unwanted areas. If you mow over it, each tiny cutting has the ability to root, in your lawn. Ivy would work, without the invasive trait; you could cut it back without collecting the cuttings. Coriscan ...


3

Firstly, you should dig the bed over to break up the beans' nodules and release nutrients evenly throughout the bed. You don't even have to bury the top growth: you can lay it on the bed as a mulch. Doing this it'll make no difference whether or not it has dried out, although damp foliage is heavier thus less likely to blow away. Mulching will feed the ...


3

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 ...


3

As you say, planting calendars are highly localised as even in a smallish area there may exist microclimates. What you are looking for in San Francisco can be found here http://smsf-mastergardeners.ucanr.edu/Vegetable_Schedule_for_San_Francisco_-_San_Mateo_Counties/ I use this one for NZ http://www.gardengrow.co.nz/ so everyone needs to search for the one ...


2

"However, I feel like the direct sunlight would lead the to cover crops decomposing more quickly because of photodegradation? Am I totally wrong about that?"- fnwovnwownf Well no, you aren't totally wrong about that. However, the microbial and macro decomposers are going to be far more effective. Decomposers like the mulch; it keeps the sun and the eyes of ...


1

Based on the title of the question, it sounds like you want this cover crop to successfully compete with grass. Given that, I would recommend something like a white clover. It is very dense, can easily compete with grass, and is pretty low-growing. It also very well tolerates being walked on (source, my front lawn is entirely clover and it holds up just as ...


1

I would suggest a mixture of grass: Tall wheatgrass Western wheatgrass Green wheatgrass (variety AC Saltlander) Slender wheatgrass Mix them equally and you should see good results after about a year of proper maintenance. Over time (perhaps 3 years) I imagine it will in fact work to refurbish the soil as you were hoping. Combination wheat grass mixes like ...


1

You can certainly grow several crops in succession in one year, exactly the same as gardening out of doors (assuming your climate is suitable, of course). But many diseases that are specific to particular plants have evolved to survive in the soil until the next annual growing season for those plants, so you need to break that cycle by not growing the same ...


1

The thing with tomatoes is not so much rotation for nutrients, but rotation to avoid disease. A complete cycle of the seasons is better for defending against disease than just one season. If you plant the same thing in the same bed for the same season it grows best in, chances are diseases and pests "know" that. So you skip an entire year, to make the ...


1

If you are talking about making heat from compost decomposing between your beds whether you are in a green house or out of doors you won't be able to use that heat nor should you. The heat will not 'improve' growth or enhance production. Too unpredictable as a heat source. Are you thinking to lengthen the growing season one end or the other of the growing ...


1

To use this as a green mulch which adds nitrogen to the soil, wait until they're about to flower, and then mow them down and let dry. Then dig into the soil. That ensures that all the nitrogen that the plant has produced is returned to the soil. You then wait 2-3 weeks before planting your vegetables. If you let them flower, and form beans, then all the ...


1

It's likely to go dormant over winter, but not die all the way. Around here (southeastern Pennsylvania), it goes back to 4-6 inches over winter. Red clover is extremely variable as to when it goes to seed, even in my own yard, but definitely more over the entire range of where it can grow, so there isn't really a 'time' when it will go to seed. But it should ...


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