An annual grain used to suppress weeds, prevent erosion, scavenge excess nutrients, add biomass and as a nurse crop.
Cereal Oats are an extremely reliable fall cover crop that provides quick, weed suppressing biomass, scavenge excess soil nutrients and increase the productivity of legumes when planted together – that’s why oats are in our Garden Cover Up Mix! The extensive, fibrous root system reduces soil erosion during winter while the above ground biomass provides a good mulch for subsequent crops.
Oats give several benefits, including good biomass both above and below the soil surface – acting as a mulch above and increasing aeration, organic matter and carbon content below ground. Oats take up excess nitrogen and smaller amounts of phosphorus and potassium, preventing them from leaching out with winter and early spring snow and rains. They outcompete weeds and act as a smother crop due to their quick germination along with their allelopathic residues which emit a plant hormone that deters weed seed germination. If planting a food crop after oats, wait 2 – 3 weeks after killing before seeding or transplanting. Susceptible food crops are lettuce, cress, rice, wheat and sweet or sugar peas.
There are few equals of oats as a fall legume nurse crop, meaning they increase the establishment of hairy vetch, clover and forage peas.
Light frosts will kill oats, but in warmer winter areas mow or cut with a weed whacker when they just start setting seeds.
Lightly broadcast seeds and work into the top half inch of moist soil, or cover with 1/2 inch of mulch or compost. Water to equivalent of 1 inch of rainfall per week until seedlings become established.
- 8 oz will seed approximately 200 sq. feet
- 1 lb will seed approximately 400 sq. feet
- Cover Crops - Better Soil in a Month
- Planting Cover Crops for a Better Garden
- Cover Crops Beat Garden Weeds
- Cover Crops FAQ
- Which Cover Crop is Best for Me?
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