Besides getting rid of summer debris, one thing we can do to really improve next spring’s garden is to consider planting a cover crop.
Cover crops are sometimes called green manure. They do important things—like help to replenish the soil, keep weeds down over the winter, prevent erosion and many varieties even bloom in early spring—providing food for foraging bees.
Cover crops also prevent erosion and can reduce soil loss by improving the structure of the soil. And cover crops are very little work. Either late fall or early spring you simply till them INTO the soil and let them continue to enrich the soil as they break down.
Here is a quick review of the cover crops we carry
Legumes, like clover, fix nitrogen in the soil. Clover grows fast and produces attractive red flower heads that are very pollinator friendly. When it’s finished blooming and before seeds set, till it in. You can plant approximately four weeks later.
It’s very good at retrieving phosphorus from the soil. Buckwheat grows very quickly and is great for inhibiting weed growth. White flowers are pollinator friendly. Till it under after blooming but before seeds form. It breaks down quickly and you can plant three to four weeks after tilling under.
Vetch adds nitrogen to the soil. It grows fast and it is a great weed blocker. It lasts over the winter, making it good erosion control. Plant your summer veggies four to five weeks after tilling it in. It produces bee-friendly flowers.
This is a mixture of field peas and oats. It adds nutrients to the soil and helps to suppress weeds. The tops can be cut and used as fresh mulch, leaving the roots to break down in the soil. Or you can till the whole plant in, planting three to four weeks after tilling.
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If you have any questions about the coming fall (or any other season) planting, come in and see us!
2 thoughts on “BONNIE’S GARDEN – About Cover Crops”
Does Meadows Farms carry any of these cover crops?
We sure do! We carry seeds for Buckwheat, Red Clover, Vetch, and the Pea/Oats blend. I did Buckwheat year before last and it worked great. This year I’ll do Red Clover.
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