Oats love cool weather. Farmers plant them in fall or early spring. But have you ever heard of summer oats? I couldn’t find any info about oats planted in late spring or summer, but oat seed is cheap, so I decided to try it out. I needed a summer cover crop that would poop out on its own by mid-August. Plants that fit this bill aren’t too hard to find, but many of them, like buckwheat, don’t suck up and hold many nutrients. Oats do. They are a wonderful “catch crop,” and I needed them to catch all the nitrogen and other goodies my winter cocktail produced and pumped into the soil this spring. (Nitrogen leaches from soil very easily.)
We planted oats on June 1st in a mix of buckwheat and sunflowers. I was hoping most of the oats would germinate and grow at least 4 inches before they shriveled in the summer heat. The oats beat my expectations! They grew about 2 feet tall, which is about half their normal height in cool weather. Some of them are starting to seed out now. They do look puny, but they grew plenty of leaves, which probably means they have some decent root mass going too. I think with one mowing, they’ll be dead. We’ve had an extremely wet summer so far, so all the rain probably helped the oats. Thanks, oats!