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Grow Better Food with Well-Fed Soil
Looking to improve soil quality? Then it’s high time to plant cover crops! Cover cropping is a tried-and-true, old-school, economical way to build better soil. And better soil means better fruits, flowers, and veggies. Back in the day, every farmer and backyard gardener knew the benefits of cover crops — they aerate and add nutrients to the soil between harvests without chemicals or expensive nutrients. Cover cropping is nature’s way to improve soil quality. So when you plant cover crops, you are working hand-in-hand with nature.
Need to add nitrogen to your soil? Plant cover crops of legumes like crimson clover, hairy vetch, or alfalfa. Cover cropping with legumes fixes nitrogen into the soil. Plant them in the fall to add organic matter and nutrients to your soil by tilling them under when it’s time to plant in the spring.
To increase organic matter in your soil, plant cover crops of annual grasses like winter rye, annual rye, oats, or barley. Grasses don’t improve soil quality by fixing nitrogen like legumes do, but they are great at adding organic matter and aeration. Want the best of both worlds? Look for a cover crop seed blend that combines a legume seed with a grass seed. Hairy vetch and annual rye are a popular combination.
The benefits of cover crops aren’t limited to improving soil quality. When you plant cover crops you also protect against erosion from winter wind, rain, and storms. Cover crops control weeds, and hold moisture in your soil. Just cut them down before they set seed and dig them into the soil. Home-grown nature’s compost, naturally made.