We often see advertisements and read news stories of cover crops that provide nitrogen or grow big tap roots!
Well, now is the time to plant any of the cover crop species or mixes that include clover, radish, turnips, and others. These cover crop plants need more growing time before freeze-up to develop beneficial and functioning root systems. In Wisconsin, to get the “root value” of clover and radish covers, they need to be planted a whole month before typical corn silage harvest.
Late July and into August – this is harvest time for solo seeded small grains, green beans, sweet corn, etc. And, as these crops are removed, we still (hopefully) have 50 to 60 + frost free days.
These are excellent fields to establish living covers, and there is enough growing season left for plants to establish and provide vegetative cover, as well as value from their roots.
The University of Wisconsin – Nutrient and Pest Management Program has a new 4-page publication that highlights selecting mid-summer cover crop species. It is packed with a lot of information including growth habits, seeding rates and planting depths.