Oats Growing Guide

Oats

Crop Rotation Group

Miscellaneous 

Soil

Any average, well drained soil.

Position

Full sun.

Frost tolerant

Oats are a cool-weather crop that can tolerate light frosts but is usually killed by temperatures below-15C (5F).

Feeding

None generally needed, especially when oats are grown with nitrogen-fixing green manures such as winter peas, winter beans or hairy vetch.

Companions

Winter Peas and Winter Field Beans.

Spacing

Single Plants: 10cm (3") each way (minimum)
Rows: 10cm (3") with 10cm (3") row gap (minimum)

Sow and Plant

Sow in late summer to grow as a green manure that forms its own mulch when it is winterkilled, or when using oats as a companion crop for slower-growing legumes. Oats also can be grown as a spring green manure to increase soil organic matter. Broadcast seed into cultivated soil so that the seeds are about 7 cm (3in) apart and 1 cm (1/2in) deep. No thinning is required. Increase spacing to 20cm (8in) apart when growing oats with other green manures.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalized calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.

Notes

Oats are an ideal late summer green manure if your winters are cold enough to kill it; the dead residue forms its own winter mulch, which is usually well rotted by spring.

Harvesting

Young oats can be turned under anytime. In mild winter climates, oats should be mowed and tilled before seedheads appear in late spring.

Troubleshooting

Rotting oat foliage has herbicidal properties, in that it inhibits germination of weed seeds. Always wait 3 weeks before sowing seeds into soil where oats have been turned under.

Planting and Harvesting Calendar

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Pests which Affect Oats