Plant Cover Crops Now - To Improve Your Garden

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As our gardens wind down the growing season, fall is the time to get our gardens ready for next spring. Have you ever considered planting a cover crop in your garden?

Maybe you should, cover crops improve our garden soil in many ways. Cover crops add a blanket of green to our otherwise bare soil that protects the soil from eroding, their roots keep soil nutrients from leaving the your garden soil. Cover crops add organic matter, which improves the tilth and drainage of your garden's soil. Also, they smother out winter weeds.

You can plant a variety of different cover crops. Grasses such as winter wheat and winter rye will add lots of organic matter in addition to the other benefits mentioned. Legumes such as winter pea, crimson clover will add nitrogen to your garden's soil as well. If your garden's soil is compacted, turnips or radishes will help to loosen the soil.

My favorite cover crop is winter rye. I can plant winter rye anytime from Labor Day to Halloween and it will grow. All the other types of cover crops have to be planted by September 15, otherwise they will not survive the winter.

Planting is really easy to do. When your garden plants have finished producing their bounty, mow them off with the lawn mower, then till the garden to incorporate the chopped off plants into the garden's soil. After the garden is tilled, broadcast seed your cover crop. For winter rye, you broadcast about 2 pounds of seed per 1000 square feet of garden.

That's it, it is that simple and your garden will thank you.

P.S. - In the spring to prepare your garden for planting, mow off the cover crop, till them in and plant. Simple!