If you want to naturally repair, replenish, and revive tired soil without the use of harmful toxins for your garden, you are on the right track. That is cover crop plants. And in the post today, we want to share the 11 best cover crops for all seasons that you will love. The simple reason, they not only bring good uses to what your garden needs but also make your garden more beautiful and vivid. Are you ready to check them out with us?
Add organic matter back to the soil, slowly restore nitrogen levels, serves as a natural mulch, prevents erosion, reduces opportunities for weed growth, attract beneficial insects and pollinators, improve soil structure and health, protect soil moisture, takes the place of composting, encourages biodiversity, these are all benefits of cover crops that will help your plants grow well. For the good uses of these cover crops, you can grow some for your garden while your garden is being rested to start the next season.
Clover convert nitrogen and return it to the earth while building healthy soil and restoring nutrients. Yellow blossom sweet clover is particularly beneficial for building soil structure, while crimson clover serves to attract beneficial insects. White dutch clover is the primary option for a living mulch as it decomposes well into the soil and prevents weed growth.
#2 Austrian Winter Peas
This type of cover crop is most beneficial if you are looking for something to prevent erosion, add organic matter to the soil, and attract helpful insects. These peas are also renowned for their ability to absorb nitrogen and transfer it back to the soil.
Rye is an excellent choice for poorly managed, acidic, or sandy soil. Both types of rye, annual and cereal, serve to prevent weed growth, control erosion and add organic matter.
This cover crop is often referred to as a complete natural fertilizer. It thrives well in dry soil as its deep roots serve to improve the structure of the subsoil and convert nitrogen. Sow in mid-spring to midsummer. Till into the ground in late fall or leave over the winter and till in spring to protect the soil.
#5 Field Beans
Legumes are well known for their ability to fix nitrogen in the soil, and this green manure works exceptionally well for that purpose. You should also consider field beans if you are dealing with a clay-heavy soil. Plant in late autumn and leave through the winter
#6 Fodder Radish
This cover crop produces bountiful organic matter and improves soil structure Fodder radish is a low-maintenance cover crop that will decompose into the soil with little effort on your part. Planted in the fall, it will die over the winter and gradually release its nutrients into the ground. Till soil lightly in spring to complete the process.
#7 Hairy Vetch
Hairy vetch works well in Northern climates and can thrive over the winter, adding healthy nutrients back into the soil throughout the dormant season. This annual tolerates moderate drainage and is excellent for capturing and converting nitrogen.
This cross between sudangrass and sorghum is a voracious hybrid that provides all the benefits of both kinds of grass simultaneously. It can grow up to 12 feet tall, providing liberal amounts of organic matter.
This fast-growing, heat-tolerant green manure can survive in acidic and infertile soils while restoring a healthy balance to the land and leaving behind rich nutrients. Its broad leaves provide a thick ground cover that prevents weed seeds from ever seeing the sun, thereby cutting off their growth and ensuring a weed-less garden, reducing your work for the coming season.
Oats serve to suppress weeds, scavenge nutrients, and prevent erosion. Sow in early spring to midsummer if you live in a cooler climate.
This cool-season, cereal grain can add organic matter back to the soil by serving as a living mulch while suppressing weeds and providing erosion control. It tolerates drought but is slightly finicky and prefers medium-rich loam soil. Barley improves soil aggregation and can protect nutrient-dense topsoil during seasons of drought.