Cover Crop Selection
There is a wide array of cover crops to choose from depending on your individual climate, crop rotation, equipment, management strategy, etc. While it can seem a little overwhelming choosing the right cover crops as you first begin to integrate them into your garden, it is important to remember that there is no perfect blend and that incredible benefits can be had with many different seed mixes and management techniques. The cover crop species that you choose will also depend on what your goals are. We are here to help match up your goals with the right cover crops based on your unique garden and climate. With the right seed blends, you can get the maximum benefit out of your cover crops to help kick start your way to healthy, productive, self-sustaining soils.
Planting cover crops in your garden can seem like a burden and just another task to get done, but in reality it is very simple to do. Cover crops can be planted either before or after harvesting or “cleaning” up a growing area. When growing late maturing fruits and vegetables with little growing season left after harvest, you can broadcast cover crop seed right into the standing crops a few week before harvest. This way when the growing area is “cleaned up”/harvested, your covers are germinated and growing and will take off with the exposure to sunlight. When you are planting into bare soil, simply scatter the seed over the designated area and incorporate by using a light chopping action with a rake. Keep the soil moist until everything germinates, and from there it’s mostly hands off until it is time to terminate the cover.
Most cover crop species are at their maximum potential as they begin to flower, but before they start setting seed. This is the ideal time to terminate the cover and plant your intended crops to be harvested. I say ideal because this is not always possible due to time constraints of growing season, but the more growth the covers put on and the closer they get to flowering, the more benefit and nutrients will be available for the following crop in most cases.