Currently I’m planting buckwheat in the garden as a cover crop in beds that contained spring peas, lettuces, or onions this spring.
Although fundamental truths for success in gardening remain firm, techniques to obtain those can vary with each individual. In this post I’ll share techniques that may give you ideas about how to save time and simplify your plantings.
Rows of Peas to be Followed with Buckwheat as a Cover Crop
Click to enlarge pictures.
After the Peas Finish
When the peas finish I pull the vines and lay them on top of the bed.
You can also cut them and leave the roots to decay in the soil. And then sow seed over them.
Sowing the Cover Crop
It was mid-June before it was convenient to sow buckwheat in the beds. The dried pea vines I push to the side of the bed to finish decaying. (Seed can be sown over the dried vines if you leave them in the bed.)
Seed germinated within a few days.
When to Cut or Pull the Buckwheat
The next picture is a closer view of the buckwheat just about ready to flower. You can cut or pull buckwheat any time after this stage until you see that it’s about ready to set seed.
Suppose it Sets Seed
If you allow buckwheat to seed without collecting the seed you’ll have a lot of volunteers whenever conditions are right for germination.
The good thing is – buckwheat is easy to pull up. But it’s time you could spend doing something else.
What Do You Do with Buckwheat after Cutting or Pulling It?
I pulled the buckwheat the day I took the picture and laid it on top of the bed as shown in the picture below.
This took 5 minutes at most.
Now pea vines and buckwheat will replenish the organic matter in that bed after they decay.
(You’ll note I did this with a minimal amount of effort. No digging or turning under stuff.)
I like to top off these two layers with a layer of straw if I have enough.
Buckwheat Seed for Next Year
Before the season ends I’ll plant at least one row for seed saving.
Something to Keep in Mind When Planting for Maximum Benefit to Your Soil
All plants put a lot of energy into producing their fruit (in this case their seed). Thus, cover crops probably won’t add as much to the soil as they would before they set seed.
The Finished Lettuce Beds
Those tall stalks of lettuce shown flowering in the second picture of this post have finished setting seed.
I cut most of the stalks at the base and left the roots to decay in the soil. That day was a busy one so I didn’t cut up the stalks. Just laid them on the bed.
Sowing the Buckwheat
Pushing the lettuce stalks to the side of the bed, I sowed the buckwheat seed over the straw that already covered the bed.
Yesterday it was starting to germinate.
Day before yesterday I sowed buckwheat in the onion beds that were empty. (The second picture in the post shows the beds with onions in them.)
Hauled in some more straw for another light covering on top of the buckwheat seed since straw was sparse in those beds.
Simplifying how you garden makes it easier and more enjoyable.
Things never have to be as complicated as many seem to think.
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