Hand-tilling cover crops

I'm thinking about some fall-planted clover or vetch for a cover crop. I was pleased with the result when I cover cropped years ago, but we had a bigger plot then, with a rototiller and a winter-buckwheat that grew near shoulder high. We don't have the space or the rototiller any more. I'm wondering if I'd be in over my head if I planned to hand spade and hoe about 500 square feet of legumes. Is there anyone out there doing cover crops with just hand tools? How difficult is the spring work?
Kathy
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I found that rye was pretty tough stuff. The legumes are pretty easy, especially if you don't obsess about tilling the stuff in. Use a hoe to chop the stuff off at the ground surface, and leave the roots (nearly) intact. If necessary, go through later on an as-needed basis with a fork to loosen things up for the new planting(s). Yes, I'm trying to get to "no-till".
There is work involved -- I don't try to do all of my ~ 1000 ft^2 in one day -- but it is doable. Of course the more green you have, the more mass you'll have to move around (dump into the compost pile).
Do a bit of it at a time and it shouldn't be bad. You don't need to clear it all in a day, do you?
HTH...
    -frank
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wrote:

Thanks, Frank! No, I usually go out in the spring with a spade and turn over a quarter of the garden one day, and a quarter the next, so it's not a big job. I'm not going no-till (at least not yet) but I'm no human rototiller, either! Somehow I was imagining a cover crop like wresting a new garden from sod, where if you just spade it over the grass just reverses course and comes up as thickly as ever. As long as a legume cover crop won't come up from the roots again like a new crop of weeds, I'm all set.
Kathy
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It sounds like your plot isn't too large so you may be a good candidate for an old fashioned scythe. They can often be found rather cheaply and if you are good at sharpening blades they work well. While I don't use it much now, I still have my grandfathers scythe that I learned on about forty-five years ago. If anyone goes this route it helps a lot to have some instruction on proper form. Don't use just your arms, use your whole body. Best, Ken..
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