How to Plant Winter Rye Grass as a Winter Crop


Planting cover crops over your garden area improves the soil for next season's garden. Winter rye grass germinates quickly in the fall. It continues to grow throughout the winter in most cool to cold climates. Turning that rye grass under in the spring improves the soil by adding organic matter to the garden area. Consult your local agricultural extension service for specific types of winter rye grass that do well in the climate of your particular area.

Step 1

Remove all old vegetation from the garden area after the first hard frost. Use a rototiller to till the garden area thoroughly. Break up any large clumps of soil, and remove all rocks from the garden site.

Step 2

Level the soil throughout the space with the garden rake.

Step 3

Broadcast the winter rye grass seed over the area at a rate of 3 ounces of seed per 100 square feet of space or 2 pounds per 1000 square feet. Consult your local agricultural extension service, as it may have specific seeding instructions for your area.

Step 4

Water the new seed into the ground, using the garden hose, at least two times during the fall if rainfall is sporadic. The winter rye grass seed should germinate in approximately one week depending on temperatures and sunlight exposure.

Things You'll Need

  • Rototiller
  • Garden rake
  • Garden hose


  • Colorado State Extension Service: Cover Crop Winter Rye
  • Cornell University Gardening: Improve Your Soil With Cover Crops
Keywords: cover crop, organic matter, winter rye

About this Author

G. K. Bayne is a freelance writer, currently writing for Demand Studios where her expertise in back-to-basics, computers and electrical equipment are the basis of her body of work. Bayne began her writing career in 1975 and has written for Demand since 2007.