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Using Annual Ryegrass as a Cover Crop for Your Garden

As summer winds down and fall quickly approaches, we finish pulling the remaining crops from the garden before falling victim to the first frost. Taking one extra step in the fall can save you so much time in the spring, prepping your garden.


I am talking about overseeding your garden with Annual Ryegrass as a cover crop. What does this do for the garden come springtime? Annual ryegrass is an aggressive, fast growing cool season grass that will prevent competing weeds from coming up. It will also grab onto any excess nitrogen in the soil and prevent erosion. I often overseed my Bermuda grass in the fall with Annual ryegrass. The years that I overseed, I do not get a single fall weed in the lawn. The years that I do not overseed in the fall, I get a lawn full of weeds if I do not put down a pre-emergent.


Overseeding also keeps the soil aerated, reducing compaction and improving soil porosity. While it is growing in the late winter it is also retaining valuable nutrients that otherwise may have leached from the soil. Once these nutrients are tilled into the ground in late winter or early spring, it adds valuable nutrients back into the soil, including available nitrogen to help those new vegetable seeds shoot up quickly. This "green manure" can be used in any sized garden. Check your soil pH to make sure its not too acidic. Fall is a good time to add lime while you are overseeding the garden, as Pelletized lime is slow to adjust soil pH.


When is a good time to overseed the garden with annual ryegrass?

Late August to early September is a good time to do it in cooler, northern climates and September to early October is ideal for more southern regions.


How much seed do I use?

1 pound per 1,000 square foot is the preferred rate of application. There is 43,560 square foot in an acre so a 50 lb. bag will be sufficient for an acre.

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Posted 2015-11-08T19:28:54+0000  by Ingar_HD_ATL Ingar_HD_ATL