Alternative cover crops for hot summer

tracydr(9b)May 24, 2014

Just wondering if anybody grows amaranth, okra or hyacinth beans as a cover crop in extreme hot summer conditions? The speed that my plants are growing and the amount of plant matter they are developing just amazes me. Plus, I find hyacinth bean and amaranth very beautiful to look at, although I've yet to taste either of them. And okra, its so pretty and so delicious. Last time I grew okra, I had to cut it off at the base of it's trunk and I shredded the stalk/leaves in the chipper. It went until first freeze and never really did die. Same with amaranth. I now have both in a more desirable part of the garden and I can't get over the size of the amaranth.
The hyacinth bean is a bit invasive with our mild winters and all the beans it drops. But, it would be very easy to kill it before the beans dried and fell off.
I've seen a study on them used in AZ as a field cover crop for summer but I've never seen anything about amaranth or okra.
It's hard to get anything here to live through summer, much less thrive. Summer is often the only time I would have to even put in a cover crop since it's my least productive garden season.
Just curious if anybody has tried these ideas?

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I guess I'd go with okra in your zone. Why not have a crop you can eat and enjoy?
I don't like amaranth because if you let it go to seed, you're in trouble.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2014 at 10:39PM
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Actually, I've also had okra and hyacinth bean self seed. But, all, including amaranth do great in the heat. Just have to chop down before it reseeds.
I haven't eaten amaranth yet because we have so much chard. Will have to try the greens this summer.
We're moving to NC in July. Will have to try amaranth grain next year.
I have 4 rows of okra. I love it but not hubby. I'll probably pickle a bunch and give a bunch to my family before we move.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2014 at 11:24PM
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When I gardened in 7b my favorite summer cover was purple hull crowder peas mixed with orange sulphur cosmos. They looked great together, and the beneficial insects loved them.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 9:49AM
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I agree with purple hull crowders - or any field pea. You might try sunn hemp, which is also nitrogen fixing. Okra encourages nematodes.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 10:59AM
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Spinach is very fresh for vegetable. I am very happy to consume spinach. How to plant is too easy. In the summer, we need to make a cover on it like using the plastic on top and spinach are often splashed with water.

Here is a link that might be useful: vegetable gardening

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 11:15AM
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Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)

When I was in a hotter climate I used Cow Peas as a summer cover crop. They shade the soil, smother weeds and the pods are excellent. Seed is also much cheaper than Okra.


    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 2:27PM
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Hairy indigo and velvet bean are good hot weather smothering crops for 9b, both do well for me in fla.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2014 at 7:39PM
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