Cover cropping seems to be trendy and there's good reason for it--this "green manure" adds loads of nutrients and organic matter to gardens and growing spaces. I was suspicious the first time I was sowing cover crops; that there was more hype than real benefit. But I was shocked at the visible difference and improvement in my soil.
Cover crops are not harvestable like a vegetable or fruit crop. Instead, they're grown for the nutrients, cover, and tilth improvement they offer soil. In the fall cover crops can be sown into the garden. They grow and protect soil all winter long, preventing erosion, solarization, and runoff. Come spring, the cover crops are chopped and dropped, grazed, or removed (I have another video on that). Ideally the crop would be chopped and allowed to decompose in place. Any nutrients left in the plant during its lifecycle is returned to the soil as it decays, also increasing the amount of organic matter.
I use a mix of cover crops to perform multiple functions; soil cover, weed reduction, to loosen compacted soil, to attract beneficial insects at spring thaw, fix nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, and pull soluble nutrients up from soil layers. I purchased this pre-mixed blend from True Leaf Market. You can also research cover crop varieties and their benefits at the Rodale Institute's website and create your own blend.
Angela is the farmer and content creator behind Axe & Root Homestead® LLC. This historic six-acre permaculture farm is home to two Clydesdale horses, ten honeybee hives, five sheep, two guardian dogs, barn cats and a flock of 40 geese and ducks. The farm produces maple syrup, fruit from a small orchard and loads of garden produce for consumption, preservation and donation to the local food pantry.
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