Chickling Vetch is known by other common names including; grass pea, blue sweet pea, Indian pea, Indian vetch, white vetch.
Chickling Vetch (also known as AC Greenfix because that is the only commercially available variety) is one of the most prolific Nitrogen fixers in the Cover Crop world. The 1″ flowers range in colors from white to blue to pink and purple all on the same plant – making it quite a show pleaser while it is doing its nitrogen duties. It is not widely used because it is relatively unknown as a cover crop and because it is a more expensive option than other cover crops. Chickling vetch is considered rather drought tolerant but in our arid Southwest, it will need some supplemental moisture. AC Greenfix should be one of your earliest crops since it can usually withstand temperatures that dip below freezing. It can be planted as late as August and still get the nitrogen fixing benefits and it can be dormant planted to get an early jump on spring. By using early planting, AC Greenfix can grow before weeds have a chance to compete.
General rule for estimating nitrogen production: For every 1000 pounds of AC Greenfix top growth, about 40 pounds of nitrogen are gained by the soil when it is disced in or desiccated. (8-12 inches of top growth /acre usually equals 1000 lbs.)
How to Check for Nitrogen Fixation: Dig (don’t pull) the roots of several plants at different spots in the field and examine for clusters of nodules. Slice open several nodules. If they are pink or red inside, they are effective N2 fixing nodules. Small white nodules and those that are gray or green inside are ineffective.
Chickling Vetch is an odd, large shaped seed. Large seeds generally establish more quickly because they carry their own nutritional pack to get established. There have been difficulties locating sources of AC Greenlander and it may not be in stock.
Southwest Seed is happy to help. Please feel free to call or email us for more information about our products and services. Before you get in touch, you might take a look at our Planning Guide. It has information that you can gather prior to contacting us so that we can efficiently answer your questions.