|Is buckwheat a good cover crop here in the Sacramento Valley? Will it affect my young fruit trees?|
|Buckwheat is an excellent cover crop. It's shallow rooted and is easy to till into the soil. The added bonus is that, if you let it flower, it will attract hundreds of bees that will aid in the pollination of your early blooming fruit trees. Unless you want buckwheat everywhere, though, you'll want to chop it down before the flowers go to seed.
Buckwheat will add some organic matter to the soil. Yours is probably clay so you might want to consider using another source of organic matter such as rice hulls as well.
You'll need 1.5 pounds of buckwheat seed per 1,000 square feet of garden area, and you can buy buckwheat seeds in bulk at most feed stores in your area. Or you can get them through Peaceful Valley Farm Supply, PO Box 2209,Grass Valley, CA 95945, ph# 916/272-4769.