Crimson Clover


Clover in January

Crimson clover was planted as a green manure in the corn and cucurbit beds last fall to add nitrogen to the soil for this spring’s plantings. I read somewhere that the clover should be turned under the soil at least 2-3 weeks prior to planting to allow plenty of time for it to decompose. I was concerned that the clover’s root system would be too tangled and hard to turn by shovel. But, I have been very happy to learn that the clover does in fact turn over quite easily by the shovel-full. However, after turning a bed of clover for the 2nd time today in preparation for radish sowing, I would most definitely suggest turning the clover under at least one month ahead of planting time. I was very surprised to find green clover under the soil in a bed that had initially been turned three weeks ago.  

We’ll stay on schedule and sow this particular bed with radish one day this week. I’m thinking that since the radish is grown for the root and not the green tops, the un-decomposed clover shouldn’t be too much of an issue. By the time radishes are harvested the clover will have broken down completely, just in time for summer squash planting.


2 thoughts on “Crimson Clover

  1. Thanks for posting about this! I’ve been thinking about using some cover crops, but I, too, had heard that you have to wait three weeks after turning them under to plant. That works okay when we have a winter like this one, with several diggable days in early February, but any other year it could spell a really late spring planting. Especially since you say you really need to wait at least a month! I’ll be anxious to see what you think of the clover as the season progresses!

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