I planted field peas in unused garden beds. Some peas are growing buckwheat or oats or radish. Some peas are growing with white clover, and those beds have been mowed to allow the clover to grow. The peas are blooming. I have no intention of using those beds this year and wonder if I can leave the peas there until next spring . Or should I till them in and plant another crop (what?) to utilize nutrients and hold them until next spring ?
You can leave the peas in for sure, I mean they will winterkill anyway, but if they set seed you’ll have peas coming up again next year, and you may or may not want that to happen.
Since it’s still early in the season and peas are not known to produce a whole lot of organic matter, I would till them in and plant something that would have time to produce more OM, possibly along with another legume for nitrogen fixation. Just keep in mind that if you plant late next year you’ll lose that nitrogen in the spring, so plant or cover crop early on those beds to take advantage of that “free” nitrogen.
Organic matter is something I want to increase. So if I plant peas again in the same spot since it’s cheap and add oats to the mix , I could leave it to winter kill. What other possibilities for crop selection at this time of year ?
Should i mow it down a bit shorter before winter? I am wondering how well the stuff will incorporate in the spring time with a rotary tiller and field cultivator.
BTW, i just that i hadn’t actually posted this reply for a July conversation i started!
Are you contemplating planting before winter this year? Because it’s pretty late to plant anything…
I wouldn’t mow before winter, you’ll lose too many nutrients by doing that, just incorporate in the fall (and if so, plant a really early cover crop in the spring to catch nutrients before they leach) or just incorporate in the spring a few weeks before planting.
If it’s just oats and field peas growing there now, I wouldn’t do anything before winter - they’ll winterkill and the residue in the spring will incorporate quite easily with the equipment you have (especially once its dry).
Planting something now is a gamble, as Denis says. If we have a relatively open fall, oats and peas will come up and put on some growth before they die off and you’ll be feeding the soil biology well into the late fall - in my mind, something is better than nothing, and you’re not investing a ton.
Rye is the most cold-tolerant option, but you’ll be dealing with a growing crop next spring, which could create more challenges to incorporate (and some allelopathic effect while the rye breaks down).