Great for breaking up clay soils, chokes out weeds, creates rich humus
Brassica relative breaks up clay soils with its strong tap root and chokes out weeds with its fast dense growth (to 36" in 8 to 10 weeks). Plant at a depth of 1/4", in rich, deep soil, at 8 lb/acre or 0.25 lb/1000 sq ft.
No inoculant required.Brassica napus
Canola is a cover crop in the Mustard family that has been widely adapted for cool temperatures typical in temperate climates. Brassica cover crops are best used for erosion control and pest management. Canola is prone to all the same diseases as other Brassicas. Although it does not fix nitrogen, it is a good source of biomass when incorporated into the soil.
- Ease of Growing
- Grown as
- Days to Maturity
- 60-180 (Fall/Winter)
- Growing Habit
Plants are very hardy during the winter if they reach a large enough size before the first hard frost. Usually if plants have about 6 to 8 leaves beforehand they will be fine.
- Growing Season
- Short, Long
- Cultivar Type
- Growing Conditions
- Cold, Cool, Warm
Canola will do well in a wide variety of soils but does need a pH between 5.5 and 8.3. It's slightly tolerant of saline soils and can grow at very low temperatures.
- Outdoor Growing Temp
- 40°F - 85°F
- Min Outdoor Soil Temp
Most cool weather cover crop should be started when temperatures are still in the 60's to allow the plants to establish before winter, which also prevents Winterkill. Canola can germinate in temperatures as low as 41˚ F, but does much better at 50˚ F.
- Start Indoors
- Start Outdoors
- Sun: min. 6 hours daily (Cold, Cool)
Cover crops need full sun when growing in winter, as days are shorter and the sun is lower in the sky. If grown in summer many will tolerate light shade (though they grow best in full sun).
Most of these crops are not particularly drought tolerant and will need regular watering in dry climates (especially when germinating and getting established). However they are mostly grown during the winter when the soil is fairly moist, so don't usually require much irrigation.
You do not need to fertilize cover crop in established gardens, as there will be plenty of nutrients in the garden to meet their needs. Since you will be incorporating them back in to the soil, growing them doesn't remove any nutrients from the soil.
The leguminous cover crops also fix nitrogen and eventually add it to the soil.
- Tolerates light frost, Tolerates hard frost
- Small Gardens?
- Attracts beneficial insects?
- Fruit Size
- Plant Height
- Plant Diameter
- Hardiness Zone
- Disease Resistance
- Taste Profile
Young leaves can be used in salads, similar to mustard greens. The flower buds can be used similar to broccoli. Canola oil is made from the seeds.