Rye is a common winter cover crop used in many farm fields and home gardens. Many gardeners and farmers choose to plant a cover crop over gardens and fields to prevent erosion by wind over the winter and to enhance the soil naturally. In the spring when it is time to put other plants into the soil where the rye has been growing, the rye can simply be worked into the soil.
Prepare the soil for fall planting as soon as possible after removing the summer plants from the soil. Use a rototiller or the garden spade to work the soil down to a depth of at least 8 inches. Smooth the soil to finish preparing it for rye planting.
Broadcast the rye seeds over the planting area. Spread the seeds by hand by tossing them evenly over the surface. You can also use a hand broadcaster or a machine broadcaster for larger areas. Spread the rye seeds at a rate of 90 pounds of seeds over each acre of soil. Reduce this amount accordingly for smaller areas.
Cover the rye seeds with 1 to 1.5 inches of soil and water thoroughly. Keep the soil evenly moist during the germination period by watering every day. Expect the rye to sprout in about a week.
Rototill the rye grass into the soil in the spring before planting to improve the nitrogen content of the soil.