Rye (Cereal) Growing Guide

Rye (Cereal)

Crop Rotation Group

Miscellaneous 

Soil

Any well drained soil.

Position

Full sun.

Frost tolerant

Most varieties of cereal rye can survive temperatures to -29C (-20F) if the plants are well rooted before the ground freezes.

Feeding

When using cereal rye to improve very poor soil, mixing a balanced organic fertiliser into the soil before planting will give better results.

Companions

Hairy vetch, winter peas, winter beans. In spring, widely spaced rye plants can serve as trellises for garden peas.

Spacing

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

Sow and Plant

Sow in early autumn, though cereal rye will still germinate in mid autumn, after the soil has lost its warmth. 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 cereal rye with other green manures.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalised calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.

Notes

Primarily grown to increase organic matter and break up dense subsoil. Can be sown later in the autumn than other green manures.

Harvesting

Mow down plants in spring, before they develop seeds. Or, gather the immature seed tops and dry them for arrangements, and then pull up the plants. They can be used as mulch or composted.

Planting and Harvesting Calendar

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Pests which Affect Rye (Cereal)