Free Shipping on retail orders over $100, use code FREESHIPPING100

(Excludes AK, HI, and Wholesale)

Frost-Seeding Red Clover

Frost-Seeding Red Clover

By: Terra Brockman (Read Bio)

Frost-Seeding Red Clover
You may think that winter is the time when farmers rest. Well, that's true for some farmers, but not for us! And not for most organic diversified grain farmers. 

Last year, Farmer Harold seeded a Red Clover cover crop into his field of Erisman Soft Red Winter Wheat. In this short video, he explains how the cover crop works year round to provide nutrients to the soil and to the organic grains grown on Janie's Farm.

Planting seeds on top of frozen ground may sound crazy, but there is method in our madness! The wheat and rye that germinated in the fall and put on a little growth is dormant, and the red clover seed will also remain dormant until the warm sun and wet soil of spring tell it to break dormancy.  And until then, the freeze-thaw cycles of late winter and early spring are a very effective way for Mother Nature to "plant" the clover, providing it with the good soil contact needed for germination.

And once the red clover germinates, it provides a host of benefits to our fields and to the environment. Because red clover is a slow-growing, cool-season legume, it does not interfere with the wheat crop. In fact, it actually helps the wheat, the soil, and the entire ecosystem  in many ways, including:

  • Before the wheat is harvested, the clover forms a  low canopy that suppresses weeds
  • After the  harvest, it continues to grow and pump nitrogen into the soil to help the next grain crop grow
  • Increases soil organic matter
  • Increases the soil's water-holding capacity
  • Reduces soil erosion and surface water pollution
  • Serves as habitat and a food source for pollinators, birds, and many other animals

These are just a few of the reasons that the Janie's Farm team has been out in the fields on the cold and snowy days of winter -- preparing for good things to come!

Posted on February 06 2023