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Cover Crops for Vegetable Growers

Mustard, turnip and rapeseed after winter

Grain and crucifer winter cover crops after the snow melts. These pictures give an idea of how well the soil was covered and how quickly the cover crop will decompose in spring. At the bottom are photos of spring weed suppression.

All of these were sown on August 30, 2007.They grew vigorously, producing about 1 ton of dry matter per acre by the end of October, except the buckwheat that was well past its growing window.

Winter cover. Cover crops were photographed March 17, 2008, after snow melt.

'Tilney' Yellow Mustard
Bolted early and flowered. Was about 24" when killed in December.


Yellow Mustard

'Bonar' rapeseed
Bolted to 14", Killed in December.


Flowered, stopped growing in October. Was about 18" when killed by first light frost in November.


'Rangi' rapeseed
Bolted late to 8", Killed in December.



Tillage radish
A thin stand. Good growth, no bolting, killed in December.

Tillage radish

'Pasja' forage turnip
Didn't bolt, made 2-3" turnips. Growing point survived, but root did not.

forage turnip

Grew to about 15" with erect leaves, no bolting. A thick mat of dead vegetation.


Grew vigourously but a low plant. A thick mat of living vegetation will regrow.