Arriga
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Cover crops

Are cover crops (ie rye) a good thing? I am new to gardening and have only heard of this. I guess in the spring, you till it in and it provides nutrients to the soil.

pd
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If I'm correct 'cover crops' are what we call 'green manuring' here in the UK and, yes, they are a good thing as they return nutrients to the soil and also improve soil structure.
If land is to lie fallow that is an opportunity to sow your cover crop. There are many types of plant that can be used and the quick maturing ones can be sown and dug in more than once during the summer; others sown late summer and turned in in winter if the weather is open or left until early spring.
If a vegetable plot is large enough green manuring should form part of the crop rotation program.

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hendi_alex
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Cover crops are a good thing. They let the soil rest while many inject nitrogen in the soil. They do add green manure to the soil when plowed under, or can be pulled and added to the compost pile, depending on what cover is used. They keep the soil stable, from washing or blowing away.

You do have to be careful what cover you use. Vetch can be somewhat invasive, so till it before it makes seeds. I think planting a usuable cover crop works well, sweet peas or greens for example as fall crops. Also many of the greens could be planted as a cover in the spring, and produce an edible product at the same time. Arugula is great IMO. I planted winter rye as a cover one year, and found that it was difficult to plow and break up the following year. So investigate and make a sound choice before plant some cover crop.

COMPOSTORBUST
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I sow red clover with straw, horse compost then till in the fall. after that I plant winter rye. You can pick the buds off the clover and make really good tea. Gives me more enegy, supposedly cures colon cancer and some other ailments. Research is being conducted. Check it out. Its bienneial also.
Its a wonderful feeling to be one of Gods flowers, I just hope I don't get over watered.

mbaker410
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I have been thinking about doing this also but I am not sure I understanding the timing or process correctly.

If I have tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, and cukes planted now (summer crops) and most of these will survive until a frost then when would I plant my cover crops or (fall crops)? In our region the fall gets mild in temperature but does not really get to frost temps.The last frost is scheduled for October 15th give or take.

Do I need to top my tomatoes and kill my veggies in order to plant the cover crop?

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hendi_alex
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After the garden is through you can plant fall cover crops. You could plant annual rye, broadcast sweet peas, broadcast any kinds of cold hardy greens.

Right now you could seed between the rows in most any kind of cover crop. It would displace the weeds and help feed the soil.

Some people with larger gardens have planting bands, that are alternated between vegetable planting and letting a band rest with a cover crop.

IMO there are many techniques/adaptations for using cover crops and crop rotation in combination.

mbaker410
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thanks!

Are these cover crops you described invasive or vine-like? I don't have much room between my tomatoes but I could plant some down by the broccoli and peppers.

Is there a math for how much cover crop per sq ft of garden space?

cheshirekat
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I got comfrey seeds to grow as a cover crop so I can add to the compost at the end of the season and it is very good for the soil I will grow in next Spring.
"Love all God's creatures, the animals, the plants. Love everything to perceive the divine mystery in all." -Fyodor Dostoyevsky



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