Cover Crop - Winter Rye, ORGANIC

$7.95 – $18.95

Secale cereale

Winter Rye seed is excellent for fall planting even when it's too late to plant other cover crops because rye seed can germinate in cold soil. A rye cover crop builds biomass quickly, is great at suppressing weeds, and provides support for inter-seeded legumes. In spring, mow down just before plants start to flower, and incorporate the rye grass into the soil for a wonderful green manure. Well adapted to all soil types. Plant rye seed in fall for overwintering. Seeding rate: 3 pounds per 1000 square feet.

For more information on all things cover cropping, check out our Learn to use Cover Crops page. 

1 lb1 lb
3 lbs3 lbs
5 lbs5 lbs
Notify Me When Available
  • How to Grow

Why Grow Winter Rye? 

Winter rye is one of the best cover crops for growing your own green manure. This crop puts out a huge amount of biomass that you can then use to add to your compost pile, or just let it decompose in the garden beds! It’s extremely cold hardy and doesn’t winter kill making it a great choice to protect against erosion during winter and weed establishment in early spring. 


How to Seed Winter Rye

Broadcast Winter Rye seeds evenly over your planting area in the fall. Lightly rake the seeds into the soil after broadcasting. Water thoroughly at the time of sowing and continue to water consistently until the seeds germinate. Watering well is very important for good germination.


When to Seed Winter Rye

We typically recommend sowing Winter Rye or any over-wintering cover crop at least four weeks before your area's first fall frost. Winter Rye seeds are capable of germinating at low soil temperatures, but young plants are still susceptible to being killed by frosts, so you want to give them time to get established before those happen. If you sow Winter Rye seeds too early, they may go to seed.


How Much Winter Rye Do I Need?

The seeding rate for Winter Rye is approximately three pounds of seed per 1,000 square feet. That means one pound covers about 333 square feet, three pounds covers about 1,000 square feet, and five pounds covers about 1,666 square feet. Alternatively, measure your garden and use the following equation to calculate how many pounds of Winter Rye seed you need based on the square footage of the space you want to cover: (3 lbs of Winter Rye seed / 1000 sq. ft.) x (square footage of your garden) = amount of Winter Rye seed you need in pounds.


How Often to Water Winter Rye

Winter Rye, like with most seeds, needs to be watered well between sowing and germination. Once established, Winter Rye does not need to be watered much assuming there’s some rainfall. However, if you’re in a serious drought, it won’t hurt to water it occasionally.