Hairy Vetch Growing Guide

Vicia villosa

Hairy Vetch

Crop Rotation Group

Legumes (Pea and Bean family) 


Any average, well drained soil.


Full sun to partial afternoon shade.

Frost tolerant

Many varieties are cold hardy to -20F (- 29C) when well rooted in the garden.


When using hairy vetch to improve very poor soil, mixing a balanced organic fertilizer into the soil before planting will give better results.


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

Sow and Plant

Sow hairy vetch in late summer so the plants can become established before cold weather comes. Broadcast seed into cultivated soil so that the seeds are about 3 inches (7 cm) apart and one-half inch (1 cm) deep. No thinning is required.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalized calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.


Hairy vetch stays small through winter and makes vigorous growth in spring. It is highly recommended as a cover crop to grow before tomatoes.


Take down plants in spring, 3 weeks before the bed is needed for summer vegetables. The easiest method is to slice plants off at the soil line with a sharp hoe. The cut plants can be allowed to dry into a surface mulch.


Hairy vetch can become weedy if allowed to produce mature seeds.

Planting and Harvesting Calendar

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Pests which Affect Hairy Vetch