Cover Crops

Broad Windsor Fava Bean
Broad Windsor Fava BeanPacket: ~15 seeds (20 grams) More info517 available
Broad Windsor Fava (Vicia faba) is an English heirloom cool season bean dating back to the 1800s. Plants are fall or winter sown and grow with great vigor to a height of up to five feet, with heavy yields of six to eight inch pods that produce large succulent green beans that can be eaten fresh or grown to maturity and dried. Young pods are succulent enough to be eaten whole and baby leaves are quite palatable as well and can be prepared and eaten like spinach. Broad Windsor can also function as a cool-season, frost-tolerant cover crop, producing nitrogen-rich biomass that can be planted into immediately after tilling. We have observed increased vigor, yields, and overall health of vegetable crops sown following a fava cover crop. Favas have a large, deep taproot that aids in loosening tight subsoil. There is just something special about the tilth of the soil after a fava cover crop has been incorporated. A key ally in sustainable soil and nutrient management. Beans in 80 days when spring-sown, 150 days when fall sown. Annual. Grown at Mano Farm in Ojai, California
BuckwheatPacket: ~125 seeds (3.5 grams) More info470 available
Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum) is a warm-season cover crop that is unrivaled in its ability to quicklyåÊgerminate, suppress weeds, and produce tilth-building biomass. Lightning-fast growth out competes most warm-weather weeds. Maturing in just 30-45 days, multiple sowings can take place throughout the main growing season. Buckwheat flowers are very attractive to bees and other pollinators. åÊA phosphorus accumulator: mature plants incorporated into the soil makes previously insoluble phosphorus bio-available to the following crop. Quick to break down in warm weather when tilled in. Provides abundant easy-to-thresh, edible seed! 30-45 days. Annual
Common Oat
Common OatPacket: ~300 seeds (9 grams) More info469 available
A high yielding grain grass (Avena sativa) with multiple uses. Plant as a cool season cover crop to suppress weeds and scavenge nutrients from the soil, mow and integrate into the soil for building biomass. Oats can be intercropped/mixed with other pea family cover crops such as fava, clover or peas. Of course, they can also be grown for grain and eating; small scale growers can enjoy whole oat groats or oat flour with a few hundred square feet of plantings. For an excellent survey of this plant’s uses, be sure to check out the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education’s entry from Managing Cover Crops Profitably. 120 days to seed. Annual. All of our seed varieties are certified organic by Oregon Tilth.
Purple Fava Negreta Broad Bean
Purple Fava Negreta Broad BeanPacket: ~10 seeds, 18 grams More info
"Negreta," a fava variety originating from either Italy or Spain, yields large green pods with large beans that mature to a dark, imperial purple shade. The beans are not only visually striking, they also mature up to 10 days faster than the Broad Windsor. We are happy to resurrect this classic variety, stewarded for two years at Mano Farm in Ojai, California and now available in our catalog in certified organic form. 70 days spring sown, 240 days fall sown. Annual.
Red Hard Spring Wheat
Red Hard Spring WheatPacket: ~200 seeds (7 grams) More info600 available
All of our seed varieties are certified organic by Oregon Tilth. Photo credit: John Bunting. Licensed via Creative Commons.
Robust Barley
Robust BarleyPacket: ~250 seeds (10 grams) More info429 available
All of our seed varieties are certified organic by Oregon Tilth.
Russian Mammoth Sunflower
Russian Mammoth SunflowerPacket: 3 grams, ~25 seeds More info340 available
This heirloom sunflower (Helianthus annuus) was originally introduced to the states in the 1880s, and is still the most popular sunflower around. Russian Mammoth towers over the garden with thick stocks that grow up to heights of up to 12 feet, with flowering heads and yellow blossoms that can reach diameters of up 2 feet and attract a great deal of attention from bees and other pollinators. As flowering heads mature they become loaded with large, delicious seeds. This crop can also be used for crop biomass generation ‰ÛÒ desiccated stalks add a great deal of carbon to any compost pile. 80 days from seed to flower. Annual.
Sorghum Sudangrass BMR F1
Sorghum Sudangrass BMR F1Packet: ~250 seeds (7 grams) More info284 available
An extremely fast growing and vigorous hybrid grass (Sorghum bicolor x S. bicolor var. Sudanese) that’s commonly used for suppressing weeds and building organic soil matter during hot weather seasons. Plants from our 2016 trials reached well over six feet tall, outcompeted invasive Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon), survived multiple seasonal mowings, and reseeded vigorously. For an excellent survey of this plant, be sure to check out the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education’s entry from Managing Cover Crops Profitably. 60 days to from seed to substantial foliage growth. Annual. All of our seed varieties are certified organic by Oregon Tilth.  
Sweetheart's  Finnish Rye
Sweetheart's Finnish RyePacket: ~500 seeds (10 grams) More info324 available
This is an heirloom variety of rye (Secale cereale) that originally hails from Kainuu, RistijÌ_rvi in Northeastern Finland. It has been cultivated for at least 100 years. We obtained it from Maatiainen, the Finnish Landrace Association, located in Helsinki. Rye is easier to grow than many other grains because it tolerates poorer soils and harsher cold conditions. It also grows taller and matures faster than wheat. While it's an ideal grain crop for small scale or subsistence farming contexts, it also works as an excellent great cool-season cover crop, functioning to scavenge excess nitrogen and add organic matter to the soil and suppress weeds. Finnish rye varieties have been grown in North America since the mid-1600s. This rye performed excellently here in our hot, Mediterranean climate (who would suspect a Nordic variety would be so suited here?). This variety grows especially tall and produces great deal of straw, making it perfect for a cover crop use. Unlike modern cultivars of rye, the seed is easily released from the stalk, making non-mechanized/hand threshing for grain far easier. "Winter" rye is typically sown in late summer and for spring maturation. However, here in Southern California, we direct seeded in late December and had a mature crop by early July. For cover crop use, consider planting later (up to late October), because if too much biomass accumulates, the crop can be difficult to manage later on. -Quin Grown at Mano Farm in Ojai, California. Growing Resources: Hannu Ahokas, "The ethnobotany of rye cultivation in Finland and its influence abroad" "Rye" in Managing Cover Crops Profitably (3rd edition), pp. 98-105 "Rye" in Alternative Field Crops Manual
White Clover
White CloverPacket: ~1,000 seeds (0.7 gram) More info566 available
A gorgeous ground cover (Trifolium repens) that produces showy white blossoms once established. Consider the following information, culled from Managing Cover Crops Profitably, 3rd Edition, the quintessential cover crop text: “White clovers are a top choice for ‘living mulch’ systems planted between rows of irrigated vegetables, fruit bushes or trees. They are persistent, widely adapted perennial nitrogen producers with tough stems and a dense shallow root mass that protects soil from erosion and suppresses weeds. Depending on the type, plants grow just 6 to 12 inches tall, but thrive when mowed or grazed. Once established, they stand up well to heavy field traffic and thrive under cool, moist conditions and shade. ” Takes some and water to establish, so consider starting in seedling cells and transplanting during warmer seasons and direct sowing outside in rainier ones. Choose plantings carefully, as the plants travel through runner roots and spread readily wherever water is available. Perennial. 120 days to establishment. All of our seed varieties are certified organic by Oregon Tilth.  
Winter Rye
Winter RyePacket: ~250 seeds (6 grams) More info694 available
Rye (Secale cereale) is an all-purpose crop: more frost and drought tolerant than wheat or oats, and capable of surviving in poor soils. Its role as a cover crop is to serve as a nutrient catch for unused soil nitrogen, build organic matter for soils and suppress weeds. When properly fertilized, and allowed to seed, it becomes a highly nutritious, filling and digestible grain flour. Plantings in the late summer for a late winter harvest or late winter for late fall harvest are most common. 330-345 days to seed. Annual. Photo by Dmitrij Rodionov, DR (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3. 0 (http://creativecommons. org/licenses/by-sa/3. 0)], via Wikimedia CommonsAll of our seed varieties are certified organic by Oregon Tilth.