Cover Crop for Plots in Canada

By GrowingDeer,

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Hi Grant,

I live Nova Scotia Canada and I’m replanting a 5 year old 1/2 acre clover plot this year.  I’m preparing it for an early August brassica planting for the fall.  I was thinking on planting it in something this spring rather than tilling it in and then replanting with brassica.  What would you recommend to plant right now that would give the deer some feed over the summer but act as a manure for my late season planting?  I was thinking on some fall rye and annual clover.




Cover crops are extremely valuable tools.  In fact, there is a new field of study of cover crops.  Different crops provide different values such as extracting more nutrients from deep in the soil to fracturing hard pans.

Unfortunately, some of the cover crops are not palatable to deer, especially during the summer months.  One that I like to use up north is buckwheat.  Buckwheat is an annual flower forage crop that deer readily consume.  Any portions that are not consumed can be tilled back into the soil as a source of organic matter.  Soybean forage also makes great organic matter.  For this purpose, it is not necessary that the plants produce pods.  This is a great application for rapid growing Eagle Seed forage soybeans.  Their aggressive growth will provide lots of quality organic matter during a short timeframe.  However, they may need to be protected with an electric fence in a plot that is 1/2 acre in size.

Remember that even cover crops need fertilizer to express their growth potential.  This is especially true if the cover crop is to double as a source of forage for deer.  Make sure to have the soil tested at a reputable lab, I use Waters Ag, and apply lime and fertilizer as recommended for the crop.  You can inform the lab that you will be planting buckwheat followed by brassicas for a custom recommendation.

Growing Deer together,