permanent living mulch/cover crop on a vege garden

Does anyone here maintain a permanent living mulch/cover crop on a vege garden. If so, what do you use.
I am looking for a permanent living mulch that would broadly fit the following parameters
I am looking for something that would do ok on raised garden beds roughly 1.5 m wide and 3-4 m long and 200-300 mm high.
ideally a nitrogen fixer smething that does not grow too high or too quickly something that does not grow dense mat across the garden something that will survive a few winter frosts and dry summers something that I can cut back but which will slowly works its was back to health something that will last a few years
I have thought of various clovers. In my lawn I have Dutch/New Zealand white clover which is ok but does run quite wild and is quite thick. A mate suggested maybe red clover. I have investigated both, red clover is edging ahead as it has a shorter life than white. This will be useful if I want to terminate my trial
My growing conditions. 1200 mm average annual rainfall - most falling in winter Winter - frosts (maybe 10-15 per year with perhaps -3 or 4 celcius at its severe worst) highs less than 14 dgrees C. Summer - dry between jan - march, average temp around 24 but highs from time to time up around 28-30 and humid Inland setting
Any tentative suggestions welcomed. Thanks
rob
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Andy writes:
As far as I know, anything "living" will compete with the plants you want for nutrients. And I saw on the Discovery Channel than many plants, including grasses "exude" something that retards the growth of other plants around them, in order to enhance their own survival....
I will be watching this thread to see if anyone comes up with a suggestion for you, since it is an idea that has benefit to all of us, if possible. But I really don't think it's going to work out......
Good luck.
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In article

<http://www.avant-gardening.com/companion.html
May be of interest.
Bill
More always more
http://www.avant-gardening.com/companion.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_companion_plants http://www.altdotenergy.com/renewable-energy-solutions/permaculture-compa nion-planting/ http://www.seedsofchange.com/enewsletter/issue_55/companion_planting.asp
Winter a good time to peruse. Promise of 5 degree F tonight.
--
Garden in shade zone 5 S Jersey USA






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Bill wrote:
Andy replies:
Good websites.... Thanks, Bill....
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Do a google on "clever clover". IIRC, a chap from CSIRO had found a particular form of clover that he was using in a way that you describe - can't remember the details now, but I do remeber it was a particular type of clover but not one one I recognised as a commercially grown grazing form. Diggers at Dromana, Vic used to sell the seeds.
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In article

<http://www2b.abc.net.au/gardening/newposts/000/topic233464.shtm
Maybe of use.
Bill
--
Garden in shade zone 5 S Jersey USA






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cheers cobbers. "Clever Clover" seems to be a breed of subterranean clover. I have located a source in NZ and am doing some research on it. It may be the way to go, dies back in summer apparently & grows through winter. Can't get the aussie stuff shipped over.
rob
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After some research and thought I have decided to trial blcoks of subterranean clover and red clover. I will put them in at the end of summer and monitor how they go. Ultimately, you can do much reading but if you can't observe someone else doing it, only way to find out is do it yourself.
rob
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Consider hairy vetch. Good stuff. It does mat a bit, but I don't think it is uncontrolable.
Robert in the hills of Tennessee

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