Row by Row Episode 56: Improve Your Garden with Warm-Weather Cover Crops

Warm-Weather Cover Crops

Growing cover crops can be just as important as growing vegetable crops in the garden. Cover crops will restore your garden soils by increasing organic matter and feeding the soil biology. Warm weather cover crops are a great option during the warmer months when other vegetable crops may not grow as well.

Sorghum Sudangrass

Sorghum Sudangrass is monocot that contains a fibrous root system similar to corn. Sorghum Sudangrass will aerate and provide a significant amount of biomass for your soil. This cover crop is taller compared to other warm-season cover crops, and looks much like corn. It also provides a solid ground cover which will outcompete weeds and reduce further weed pressure. It can be broadcast or easily direct-seeded with our Hoss Garden Seeder.

Brown Top Millet

Brown Top Millet is another monocot, warm-season cover crop that works great to prevent soil erosion and suppress weeds. Many people like to use this cover crop as a livestock forage. Others will use it to create feeding plots for doves and other wildlife. Much like Sorghum Sudangrass, it is a taller cover crop and performs very well in the heat. It usually matures in 60 to 70 days.

Buckwheat

Buckwheat is a dicot, warm-season cover crop with a taproot system. It is the fastest-maturing warm-weather cover crops that we offer. Buckwheat will mature in four to six weeks. This crop is great for attracting pollinators such as bees because they absolutely adore this crop. It is an ideal plant to scavenge the phosphorus in the soil as well.

Sunn Hemp

Another dicot that adapts well in hot and dry climates is Sunn Hemp. This is also a fast-growing crop that only takes eight to twelve weeks to mature. Sunn Hemp works well on overfarmed soils like sandy soils that are nutrient-poor. It is also can be a nitrogen fixer and can be used to suppress parasitic nematode populations in the soil.

Show and Tell Segment

On the show and tell segment, the guys discuss the dry and humid weather they’ve experienced lately. Travis has tomatoes, winter squash, and cucumbers planted on drip tape, but cannot seem to cool them off from the heat. Much to his disliking, he has had to use an overhead sprinkler on his tomatoes and winter squash to cool the plants during the heat of the day. However, the Jambalaya and Red Burgundy okra are growing perfect in this warm weather. Another heat tolerant crop is the Tiger Collards. The guys have been harvesting quite a few of these lately. Greg has some Honey Select sweet corn that is almost ready to harvest. He explains that the brown silks are the primary indication of maturity with sweet corn.

Viewer Questions Segment

On the question and answer segment, the guys answer questions about dry storage vegetables and transplanting sweet corn. Their Irish potatoes and Texas Legend onions will store for four to five months. On average, winter squash and spaghetti squash will last about six months. Seminole pumpkins will last about a year, making them one of the longest-storing crops. In summary, many of the dry storage vegetables will store for several weeks if given a dry area with good airflow and shade. Greg explains that he has transplanted sweet corn in the past, but it may be a little more difficult to transplant than crops like okra, tomatoes, and peppers. You can transplant sweet corn, it will just be more time-consuming.

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