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Barley Cover Crop – Smother, Mow, Turn Under

Hi, this is John Traunfeld, the
university of Maryland extension. I planted some barley in this vegetable
bed last fall by April 1st it was about 18 inches high and I really want
to get my spring vegetables in. So what do we do with this barley cover
crop? Couple of different options. What you’re looking at is the result
of smothering it with a tarp for three weeks. It’s not completely dead, but we could come in and mow it now
close to the ground and turn it under. We could also just mow it and plant
our vegetables right into the residues. I’m also going to put the tarp back
on and leave it for a week or two to completely kill it. Option three would be to mow the barley
when it’s 18 or 20 inches high and then turn it over with a spade. You’d still have to let it sit for a
couple of weeks decomposing before you could plant your spring vegetables.

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