Bill Pitney and I planted buckwheat on the east side of the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens today.
The organic seed was purchased from Johnny’s Seeds and chosen because buckwheat is a quick summer green manure, meaning it improves the soil.
Here’s what it says on Johnny’s website: “Buckwheat is widely grown as a grain crop, bee pasture, soil improving cover crop and as wildlife cover. It is a warm season grain which grows rapidly during the summer and several crops per year may be had with proper management. This rapid and dense growth chokes out weeds and is used in crop-free fields in rotation with vegetables.
“Buckwheat is often grown to attract beneficial insects and as pasture for honey bees. Sow in late May through July and till in about a month later, when flowering has begun. For grain harvest, sow 3 months before fall frost. Harvest after killing frost. Planting rate: 2-3 lb./1,000 sq.ft. (60 lb./acre), one-fifth less when planting for grain harvest. Blue label/Certified seed. Organically grown. Avg. 14,800 seeds/lb.”
We should see germination in less than a week and flowers in 25 days.
The area planted is where next year’s raised beds and plots will be. Using a cover crop not only helps the soil, but the bees will love it too.
Speaking of the bees, they are frequent visitors to our fountain in the butterfly garden.