Results: Over winter ground cover: Rye Grass vs. Crimson Clover

by Rainbow Bobbins

In late fall of 2007 I tucked my square foot garden beds in for the winter under a blanket of rye grass in one bed and covering of crimson clover in the other two. Although I got all beds off to a late start for over wintering… the rye grass grew quickly, stayed a lovely shade of green through out the winter and provided dense coverage. The crimson clover provided spotty coverage, and managed just a bit of growth before it was stunted (im assuming) by cold weather. The clover was good for growing around a few crops that stayed in through the winter – the rye grass seemed more invasive. Fast forward to spring… When it came time to turn the beds over for spring planting the rye grass was a pain in the arse. I’m still fishing out clumps of rye grass and do not like the texture of the soil filled with blades of grass. Turning in the crimson clover was easy and left the soil feeling light and fluffy. I should note that I had only two weeds total in all of my square foot garden beds – and I did not do a thing to the garden between late November and early March – this gardening method is great for weed control.  In conclusion – next year I will go with crimson clover — and make sure I plant earlier than last year. Unless anyone has sugesstions for great overwinter coverage….. Ideas? What has worked for you?