Clovers are more commonly sown in the springtime
in the Northern States and Canada than at any other season and they are
usually sown early in the spring, rather than late. On land producing a
winter crop, as rye or wheat, they can
be sown in a majority of instances as soon as the snow has melted. That condition of soil known as honeycombed furnishes a peculiarly opportune time for sowing these seeds, as it provides a covering for them while the land is moist, and thus puts them in a position to germinate as soon as growth begins. Such a condition, caused by alternate freezing and thawing, does not occur on sandy soils. Where it does not so occur, sowing ought to be deferred until the surface of the ground has become dry enough to admit of covering with a harrow. As in sowing the seeds of certain grasses good results usually follow sowing just after a light fall of snow, which, as it melts, carries the seed down into the little openings in the soil. But there are areas, especially in the American and Canadian northwest, where in some seasons the young clover plants would be injured from sowing the seed quite early. This, however, does not occur very frequently. When sown on spring crops, as spring wheat, barley and oats, the seed cannot, of course, be sown until these crops are sown. The earlier that these crops are sown the more likely are the clovers sown to make a stand, as they have more time to become rooted before the dry weather of summer begins. In a moist season the seed could be safely sown any time from spring until mid-summer, but since the weather cannot be forecast, it is considered more or less hazardous to sow clovers in these northern areas at any other season than that of early spring. If sown later, the seed will more certainly make a stand without a nurse crop, since it will get more moisture. If sown later than August, the young plants are much more liable to perish in the winter. In the States which lie between parallels 40 deg. and 35 deg. north, and between the Atlantic and the 100th meridian west, clover seeds may be sown in one form or another from early spring until the early autumn without incurring much hazard from winter killing in the young plants, but here also early spring sowing will prove the most satisfactory. The hazard from sowing in the summer comes chiefly from want of sufficient moisture to germinate the seed. In the Southern States the seed is sown in the early spring or in the autumn. If sown late, the heat of summer is much against the plants. Seeds sown in the early autumn as soon as the rains come will make a good stand before the winter, but there are some soils in the South in which alternate freezing and thawing in winter, much more frequent than in the North, would injure and in some instances destroy the plants. In the Western valleys where irrigation is practiced, clover seeds may be sown at any time that may be desired, from the early spring until the early autumn. The ability to apply water when it is needed insures proper germination in the seed and vigor in the young plants.
Next: Methods Of Sowing
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