Have you ever thought about planting a cover crop in or around your orchards? Now that fall is here it’s time for action! Apply online with the Seeds for Bees® program and receive up to $2,000 worth of seed.
With this year’s late harvest (growers report 2-3 weeks later than normal) it may seem too soon to start thinking about post-harvest management but the first rains of the year are right around the corner. If cover crop seed is planted in time, the fall precipitation will be enough to germinate the seed without irrigation. However, if California does experience a dry fall then irrigation might be required to ensure bee forage like the PAm Mustard Mix will bloom before almonds. Growers with micro-sprinklers, solid set or flood irrigation options maximize efficiency by timing planting so the obligatory post-harvest tree irrigation germinates the seed.
The Seeds for Bees® program is always working to provide California’s growers with the best possible seed mixes that improve soil quality and bee health. Based on feedback from growers and industry experts Project Apis m. has introduced a new mix to the Seeds for Bees program. The PAm Soil Builder Mix draws upon the success of brassicas and legumes by combining canola, mustard, bell beans and peas in the same mix with the addition of two grains; oats and triticale. This mix is ideal for young orchards, vineyards and in any place where weed control is desired. The early blooming brassicas and grains do a good job of outcompeting resident vegetation. Although this mix has a shorter stature than the PAm Mustard Mix it can still provide a lot of organic matter. More growers are reporting how they experience less ground cracking when their percent of organic matter increases. You spent all year growing those nuts, don’t lose them to a crack in the ground!
2019 has also been an exciting year for cover crop enthusiasts due to ongoing research from a team of researchers in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis on cover crops in orchards. Funded by the Almond Board, the preliminary findings demonstrate the benefits of planting cover crops like improved soil health and structure, improved water infiltration and effective suppression of weeds and harmful nematodes. For more information, please read the article “Almond Cover Crop Myths Busted” which is included in this edition of the Cover Crop Chronicle. Stay tuned for more updates on the results of this research. To sign up for the Seeds for Bees program please follow this link https://www.projectapism.org/apply-to-enroll.html.
Project Apis m. Director of Pollination Programs