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BrowningB7

Artichoke cover crop

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    Looking to put in some artichokes alongside some cover crops as a windbreak, and as a crop on its own. Questions:

    Can I set a double furrow plough down a few inches, pull some lines and place the chokes in rather then making thousands of holes with a bar? 

    Do you need to strim or clear away the previous crop for the next year's to come through? 

    Anything else I need to do apart from bung them in and let them grow?

    Thanks

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    Q -Can I set a double furrow plough down a few inches, pull some lines and place the chokes in rather then making thousands of holes with a bar? 

    a - Yes we planted artichokes last year this way. We have a clay soil and although a bit hit and miss most came up and gave great cover.

    Q - Do you need to strim or clear away the previous crop for the next year's to come through? 

    A - I have  strimmed off the old  growth and will ridge up again using the plough for this years growth. Hopefully it will be good again this year.

    Q- Anything else I need to do apart from bung them in and let them grow?

    A - other than what advised no. Good luck

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    Also they will not provide a windbreak come the shooting season, have had them in the past look amazing all the way up until winter then just canes that go over.

    I would go with REED canary grass, just my thoughts.

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    No good as a wind break.They will grow happily just chucked in the furrow infront of the mould board/s as someone drives the tarctor very slowly, plough set about 5 inches. Obviously not in the furrow the wheel of the tractor will run.    I ran over the area with chain harrows a couple of times to level everyhting off.  You do realise that once planted they are difficult to get rid of. If your leaving them permanent then plough them every year after the season ends and get a bunch of members to pick what gets thrown on top, you can use or sell these as seed.  There will be plenty left to grow the next year.  Reed canary grass is excellent as a wind break.

    We humans tend to judge wind at our level. You have to lie down to appreciate where a pheasant will be. Canary grass is also a very good nesting area.  Needs a couple of seasons to thicken up.

    Edited by Walker570

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    Thanks for the replies. Yes we are looking to leave them in, wanted something easy to establish on poor ground and not having to do it each year is a bonus. We had chicory as part of a mix one year which was very good, but didn't know we had to strim and fert it after the season. Other shoots around us use artichokes, the cover is very think, 7ft tall and hard to push through until December, hence me thinking of bunging some in. Was thinking of plating them quite close together (maybe 200-300 apart, the same for row spacing) staggered, to try and produce a narrow wall. Thought about using Canary grass or Miscanthus but thought it would be more hassle getting it in and established. (Don't know anything about them regarding planting).

    19 hours ago, Walker570 said:

    We humans tend to judge wind at our level. You have to lie down to appreciate where a pheasant will be.

    Quite right, I do think about that when I'm looking at our covers. We place small square bales around in areas to try and help with this.

    Something to think about over the next couple of weeks.

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    Yes, we ploughed them in using a three furrow Fergie plough, and dropped the sets in the first turn, so I would say the rows where about 27-30 inches apart this allowed beaters to walk up through them but dogs had to be well held or they would run the whole length. Of course the second year they're going to be all over the place after you plough them through.

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    Reed canary grass lasts for several years and just needs topping, Miscanthus is the top wind break crop needs planting properly lasts for years initial set up is expensive,

    Make sure it's REED canary grass not just plain canary grass.

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    In all honesty, to put artichokes in you need to completely out of other options, or so short of budget you have no other choice.

    It's very easy to overlook the long term implications.  Artichokes are as good as permanent if you get them established well.  If you change your mind in a couple of years and want rid of well established artichokes you've got a nightmare job on your hands.

    I'm not very clued up on the finer points of agricultural machinery/methods but the chap who does ours talks about "scuffling" them in (not sure if that's different from ploughing or another word for it?) and then scuffle it over every spring to stimulate regrowth.  We've got 2 areas of artichokes, I don't know how many years they have been established but they come up 8ft tall and so dense you have to walk sideways through them, flattening the stalks with the soles of your boots.

    I have to partly disagree with the above comments regarding their inability as a windbreak.  If you get a whole patch of them established as densely as I've described above, the wind certainly does not rip through them whilst they're standing.  However if you want to use them as a border to windbreak something else in the middle you're probably right, only a 5 yard or so strip of them would probably still have the wind whistling through.

    It all depends on the variables but ours usually last through till Novermber and when they do start to fall over they still offer a little protection for a further few weeks, or until the weather says otherwise.  Nothing great though.  I'm talking about a bit of camouflage against aerial predators, more than providing something to "hide under".

    I personally think artichokes are **** as a cover on their own, they have no food value and I don't believe they do anything other than serve as something to slow down a running pheasant if you've run them in there from somewhere else.  Our biggest patch of cover is split in half, with a decent cover mix in the first half and then the second half we walk through is the artichokes.  Most birds flush from the first half, very little runs through the artichokes, but we will stil lshoot a few out of it even after Christmas.  Another cover is all artichokes, we get maybe 3 drives off it early season before it's barren and not worth the walk over it.

    If you're that stuck for ideas or budget maybe just chuck some Kale in? Fodder radish also an option, at least they last the winter and you wouldn't have to worry so much about getting rid of them.  I'd only go for the artichokes as an absolute last resort.

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