Hairy vetch is a widely adapted, winter hardy cool-season annual legume that supplies an abundant amount of palatable forage for deer and turkeys and other wildlife in late spring into early summer. It also produces an excellent seed crop that attracts quail and turkey. As a legume, it fixes 75 lbs.
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Most gardeners know about the benefits of adding organic matter to the soil. Many of us build the soil with annual applications of compost, manure, leaves, and grass clippings. Cover crops allow you to avoid importing soil amendments.
Crimson clovers spring growth can rapidly produce a large amount of biomass. Crimson can grow at lower temperatures better then almost any other clover species. Maturing earlier in the spring than hairy vetch allows this species to reach its maximum N production sooner.
There is one quality, however, that must remain consistent no matter what the application is; your turf must be dependable. Turf is susceptible to an array of diseases such as rust, dollar spot, and pythium blight. Diseases like these can destroy an entire lawn.
Hairy Vetch Vicia villosa is a short term legume commonly used for cover crops in home gardens, weed suppression, erosion control, ground cover, green manure, pasture, silage and hay. When planted alone as a Winter cover crop in annual vegetable rotations, it can provide as much as lbs. Hairy vetch is a hardy, viny, annual or biennial legume, attaining a height of 24 in. Hairy Vetch can thrive in acidic soils where Clover and Alfalfa do not grow well.
Fall is the time to start thinking about soil health, preventing erosion on bare soils and increasing organic material in your fields, gardens and other cropped areas. This article, courtesy of Osborne Seeds, covers the basic seed types to use for cover crops. Cover cropping builds soils health by increasing organic matter which in turn can help drainage, retain soil moisture, increase nutrient availability and reduce erosion.