Fall 2020 Cover Crop Update
Most of the species listed above got off to a great start in Fall 2020. All cover crop in our field was directed seeded with a walk behind seeder, using the Jang or the Earthway, depending on seed size and seed spacing. All cover crops were seeded on September 22nd, besides the Winter Rye was seeded on October 7th. All beds were irrigated by drip, with 3 drip lines spaced every 8-10 inches in the bed (view photo). Each bed seeded on Sept 22nd was irrigated 6 times for approximately 1 hour per set. All species germinated very well besides the Common Vetch and Fava Beans. The water main was shut down for the season on October 19th, and the cover crops will not be irrigated again, and will only receive moisture by precipitation for the remainder of it’s life.
The first freeze date occurred on October 23rd and there was large mortality noted in the Siberian Kale, which was a surprise, and some damage to other brassica species in the mixed blends. The low temperatures recorded during this freeze event was 36 and 37 degrees F. We have observed freeze damage occurring to our crops at 37-degree F, and see this as an opportunity for further research to understand freezing indexes in our climate, given we know that freeze events can occur above 32 F. First snow fall arrived on Nov 7th – 8th, with a total accumulation of 3-5 inches in Reno. We are not making and conclusions in this article about the success and failure of each crop, and we are not recommending any of these crops to be planted at this time, until we have collected data and monitored the trails for the entire season.