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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 6:27 pm 
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I planted cover crop last fall for the first time in my 40' x 40' garden. (no beds) A mix of vetch and cereal rye. The rye is very tall and thick. How do I now prepare to plant my spring crops? Do I mow the rye now and let the vetch keep growing or mow both after the vetch blooms? I like to plant my tomatoes in late February or early March and cloche them with milk jugs. I am thinking of cutting out a 15" diameter circle and plant the tomato plant within the circle and then mow the surrounding later? Also, I planted the cover crop to help build up beneficial spiders and insects. But I just noticed that a lot of the rye is covered with aphids and I already found a *%#* cucumber beetle. Should I spray the cover crop with BT soap, orange oil, Garrett juice for the bugs or wait for more beneficials to show up?


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 12:05 am 
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You only need to post your question in one place, for future reference.

You didn't say where you are, but I'm assuming North Texas? I grew up in a different part of the country where the rule of thumb was to till in the winter stuff after the last frost and start planting. Is that what you were thinking of doing?

A few pests are going to be around, the organic program keeps them in check but doesn't nuke them entirely. Aphids show a plant is under stress, and this winter has been pretty stressful! You can probably knock the aphids out by hitting them with a hard stream of water. I'd introduce beneficial nematodes now, till it all when you're ready, and plant when you usually do. But let's see if others come along with more suggestions. (In my garden every spring I dig out the Bermuda grass that made great inroads in the fall, then I plant. The idea of having just rye and vetch sounds very nice!)

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 6:57 pm 
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thanks for the suggestions. Yes, I live in the Dallas area. I actually was thinking of not tilling the cover in, just mowing it, because I understand that the vetch has to bloom for maximum benefit and I think I will need to plant before the vetch blooms. That is why I was thinking of just cutting out a circle in the cover and transplanting my little plants in that circle?


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 10:59 pm 
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No till will work, like you're thinking. What do you plan to do after the vetch blooms?

I still recommend the beneficial nematodes. I wish I could just poke a hole and plant, but with Bermuda through the garden, it would have a head start. :)

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2014 11:02 pm 
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I am thinking I will mow the vetch after it blooms. But I may have to till it under if I can't get in under control. What do you think?


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