Phacelia, native to the USA, actually gained favor as a cover crop in Europe. It is a cool season broadleaf plant. It is one of the lowest water using plants available in the cover crop palette available to us in the Southwest. Phacelia is not a legume, but is plant with beautiful purple flowers, which attract insects. It has additional cover crop benefits including; providing organic matter and acting as a nitrogen catch crop. It winterkills at 18 degrees meaning that you don’t need to till or use chemical means to halt its growth. Phacelia is a long—day plant, flowering only when days are longer than 13 hours (May—Sept). It germinates at temperatures above 37F and winterkills at 18F. It produces large amounts of biomass, but little of this residue will likely remain in the spring because phacelia residue degrades quickly. Phacelia is relatively quick to emerge, flowering 6-8 weeks after emergence and continuing to flower for 4 – 6 weeks. Phacelia is comparable to Buckwheat but is slightly more cold tolerant and slightly more drought tolerant.
C:N ratio: 10 – 15
- Variety Release Sheet: http://asi.ucdavis.edu/programs/sarep/research-initiatives/are/nutrient-mgmt/cover-crops-database1
- USDA Sheet: http://seriousaboutcamo.typepad.com/files/phacelia_farmer_version.pdf
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