clover / Pollinator Cover Crop for bees - how to?

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clover / Pollinator Cover Crop for bees - how to?

Postby inairam » Mon May 24, 2021 9:56 am

I do not farm with my cubs and do not have much of a green thumb.

I do have some fields in flood area with full sun that I have been thinking of planting clover for bees and to add some color to the fields.

any advice? will I have to kill what is there to plant it? I have a box grader with teeth to turn up the soil and a fast hitch plow but no discs or a cultipacker.

the areas I am thinking of is about 1/3 to 1/2 an acre
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Re: clover / Pollinator Cover Crop for bees - how to?

Postby Mht » Mon May 24, 2021 2:36 pm

Clover is a great cover crop and bees love it. I plant a lot on my farm in food plots for deer. I usually plant a mix of red, ladino, and crimson clover. Crimson clover seed is relatively cheap and the others are relatively expensive but it doesn’t take much seed. The seed are tiny and definitely need contact with the soil. Sometimes I plant in tilled soil with oats or wheat. In some grass pastures I just over seed with clover. Here in NC clover is best planted in the fall. When over seeding in grass I try to mow shortly before planting and try to scalp it when I mow to give clover the best chance. When planting in tilled ground I usually spread my oats or wheat and then drag a piece of old telephone pole over it to cover the oats or wheat and to firm up the ground before broadcasting the clover. I don’t go back and try to cover the clover as it only needs to be planted 1/8 inch deep. The first rain after planting washes the seed deep enough. Go to your local extension service web page and research overseeding pastures with clover and you will probably learn what you need to know. In my area clover can also be frost seeded. You just broadcast the clover seed in late winter and the freezing and thawing of the ground will get the clover seed deep enough.

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Re: clover / Pollinator Cover Crop for bees - how to?

Postby Eugene » Mon May 24, 2021 3:28 pm

I like the clover thought. Have about 4 acres with white/dutch/and several other names clover, that we keep mowed. Have more in the pasture areas that are mowed once or twice a year..

Growes 4 to 6 inches tall, so easy to maintain, crowds out weeds.
I have an excuse. CRS.

inairam
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Re: clover / Pollinator Cover Crop for bees - how to?

Postby inairam » Mon May 24, 2021 3:38 pm

I found this mix https://www.americanmeadows.com/grass-a ... r-seed-mix

I have all kinds of mowers to cut it back in the winter so I an not worried about how high some of this mix gets.

SO MHT you are saying cut the grass low and spread the mix and that it? no tilling is required? watering?

Some places I read recommend mixing it with lime, soil or a low nitrogen fertilizer just to make it easier to handle because the seeds are so small.
Last edited by inairam on Mon May 24, 2021 3:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: clover / Pollinator Cover Crop for bees - how to?

Postby Don McCombs » Mon May 24, 2021 3:40 pm

I agree with everything Mht said. I would also recommend a soil test to determine any lime or fertilizer needs to get the clover established. Search for “Penn State soil testing”. You can download the soil test order form and instructions on soil sampling.
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Re: clover / Pollinator Cover Crop for bees - how to?

Postby Don McCombs » Mon May 24, 2021 3:43 pm

Clover seed from a farm supply place like Agway or Southern States is much less expensive than the boutique meadow mixes.
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Re: clover / Pollinator Cover Crop for bees - how to?

Postby Eugene » Mon May 24, 2021 5:47 pm

Don McCombs wrote:Clover seed from a farm supply place like Agway or Southern States is much less expensive than the boutique meadow mixes.
Local farm and ranch store sells seed by the pound. Tell the clerk you need a pound of this and 1/4 pound of that. Short time later the seed is handed back in paper bags with type of seed hand printed on it.

Boutique seed mix. Son purchased some. Had quite a bit/a lot of thistle in the mix.
I have an excuse. CRS.

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Re: clover / Pollinator Cover Crop for bees - how to?

Postby Mht » Mon May 24, 2021 6:39 pm

Definitely look at you soils lime needs for clover. Yes clover can be planted without tillage. Pastures in NC are over seeded regularly with clover by doing nothing other than cutting the grass real short and broadcasting seed. Yes it is much easier to mix clover seed with fertilizer, pellet lime, or even sand to help spread the extremely small seed. I usually use pellet lime because anywhere I plant anything on my farm needs lime. I usually mix a pound or so of clover with 5-6 pounds of pellet lime and use an old school canvas bag spreader to put it out. I will do this and spread real light from a couple of different directions to try and get uniform coverage of seed. It takes more seed to get a good stand this way vs. planting after tillage but since you don’t have tillage tools and are working with small areas your cost won’t be bad. Definitely find bulk seed at a farm supply store for the best price. Google over seeding pastures with clover and you can probably find best varieties for your area along with planting dates and seeding rates

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Re: clover / Pollinator Cover Crop for bees - how to?

Postby Mht » Mon May 24, 2021 7:22 pm

I just googled overseeding clover in PA and several penn state extension articles came up the first being on frost seeding and the second on red clover management. Probably a good read

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Re: clover / Pollinator Cover Crop for bees - how to?

Postby SamsFarm » Mon May 24, 2021 7:22 pm

You just might be surprised what your soil holds in what some call a "seed bank"!

I have witnessed a clover explosion after a application of ag lime.

(If your not in a hurry, lime your area about a ton to the acre). Bulk pulverised lime might run you $30 a ton plus trucking if you do not have a truck. I have spread lime outa my truck with nothing more than slinging it with a shovel!

If the top 1/4" is acidic, then clover seed just sits there waiting for you to unlock the door to sprouting (lime)!

For me, if I plant some winter wheat, then after I cut the wheat, I have a stand of clover, you'd swear I planted!

Whatever you do, do not taint your soil with roundup or other garbage like that! The bees will thank you for it! :)

inairam
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Zip Code: 19342
Tractors Owned: 1948 6v - Dozer
1949 with kub klipper belly mower. mag 6v - Mom
1950 with plow, 54 blade, mott mag 6v - Roxanne
1953 54 blade, c22, wood 42 6v
1957 6v - barn Queen
1965 lo-boy with c-3 mower 12 v - Loboy
1974 Horse II 12 v c-2
1975 with woods 42-6 12 v - Horse
1979 long strip 12 v stuck engine
130 with international 1000 loader 6 v
1969 140 with bush hog tow behind mower 12 v
Terramite T-6 4WD Backhoe Perkins diesel
Memberships: Rough and Tumble Engineers Historical Association;Chapter 8 IH Collectors; IH Collectors Worldwide
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Location: Glen Mills PA

Re: clover / Pollinator Cover Crop for bees - how to?

Postby inairam » Mon May 24, 2021 9:05 pm

Thank you, everyone. I am getting excited to work on this.
When you only have 9 horsepower you need to know the names of all of the ponies!

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Re: clover / Pollinator Cover Crop for bees - how to?

Postby SONNY » Tue May 25, 2021 9:13 am

Around here the ground has to be clean and worked to ever get a stand. also needs a cover like oats or wheat, ----even then results vary! since you are not planting it for hay you can just throw the seed out and hope for the best. ---- could get lucky! lol!

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Re: clover / Pollinator Cover Crop for bees - how to?

Postby BigBill » Fri Jul 16, 2021 5:54 pm

Before I got sick I did the lime thing, planted Kentucky blue grass, white clover. Now the clover is doing great, the deer like it. Now I’m not sure to reseed the Kentucky blue grass or plant the field grass and leave the lot uncut, food for the animals.
I'm technically misunderstood at times i guess its been this way my whole life so why should it change now.

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Mechanical Transplanter with side mount barrel (needs a fast hitch adapter) :)

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Re: clover / Pollinator Cover Crop for bees - how to?

Postby SamsFarm » Sat Jul 17, 2021 1:10 pm

Tall grasses will eventually choke out most of a clover stand.

Cutting / graizing of some sort is required to keep the clover going!


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