Cutting in the Cover Crop


I decided to chop in around half of the Crimson Clover cover crop that I sowed back in the Autumn (the Rye grass didn’t germinate – probably sowed it too late). It has grown really well and while I would love to see it flower I think that leaving all of it to flower might cause me problems later on. There will just be too much ‘greenery’ in the ground and it will take a long time to decompose. It may also put too much nitrogen into the soil.


So, I decided on a halfway-house. I chopped half of it down with my Rogue Hoe (love that tool). I dug it in in a kind of ‘double digging’ fashion where I chopped the tops off and then dug up the roots and placed them on top of the leaves. Then I chopped some more leaves into the hole that was made. Easy!

Now, I’m left with a ‘hedge’ of cover crop along the edge of the planting area that will flower with some lovely long wine-coloured teasels.

5 Responses to “Cutting in the Cover Crop”

  1. Carrieon 22 Mar 2014 at 11:05 pm

    We did a rye bed a few years ago and it was a nightmare, so much work to cut it back and dig it in, grrr. Plus we later found it wasn’t good for clay soils! Mulching with glorious horse manure is our thing :)

    Your clover does look so pretty and verdant though x

  2. Hollyon 23 Mar 2014 at 12:22 am

    Please tell us about your Rogue Hoe …the size and where we can get one. Thanks!

  3. mtpon 23 Mar 2014 at 4:07 pm

    Hi Holly – It looks like this

    I’m sure somewhere sells them in the UK if that’s where you are. If you hold it near the bottom it is wonderfully versatile even though it’s pretty heavy. It slices through anything – especially my clay soil.

  4. Markon 24 Mar 2014 at 8:24 pm

    You’ve stumbled upon the cover crop conundrum. Crimson clover is the best choice, in my opinion. It is easy to cut down and to dig under without the use of heavy tools or machinery. Aside from the organic matter and weed suppression, it also supplies a lot of nitrogen to the soil.

    However, to take advantage of the nitrogen fixing capability, you need to cut and dig the clover before it starts to flower.

    In this neck of the woods, getting everything turned under by May is optimum. Be aware that you must make sure the soil is dry enough for digging. Plan accordingly.

  5. mtpon 01 Apr 2014 at 12:48 am

    It’s started growing back already – after a week. So I’ll have to chop it in again more!