Meh: Cover Crops

cover-crops-in-raised-bedsPlanting a cover crop is like repairing the cracks in your home’s foundation, fixing a burst water pipe or replacing studs due to dry rot.  Those are all really important fixes that keep your home structurally sound, but there’s nothing to see for your troubles.  In other words, there is no “wow factor. “

But, if you can get past the meh at the mention of cover crops, its worth it to consider planting some because cover crops:

  • Keep weeds down when your garden bed is fallow
  • Slow water run-off and reduces soil loss/erosion
  • Increase organic matter and builds up nutrients in the soil
  • Fix nitrogen
  • Help control pests and diseases
  • Help to reduce soil compaction
  • Help with temperature and moisture control
  • Are attractive to beneficial insects and pollinators

Buckwheat cover crop 10-13aAll of that will come in handy when facing less than ideal conditions like water scarcity.

You don’t need to have a large garden or backyard farm to plant cover crops.  Any space will do, and you can overlap plantings (successive planting) as well as plant cover crops with your food plants (companion planting).

Next, breaking it down