Hey novice gardeners, have you heard about cover crops? Wonder what they are and if you should make the effort to plant one? Cover crops in your garden are useful for several reasons:

  • Build nutrients in the soil
  • Increase organic matter
  • Prevent soil erosion over the winter

Ideally, a cover crop should be planted as soon as the summer crops are removed and given adequate time to establish before winter. The earlier you plant the cover crop, the more options you have. Legumes, radish, and some grasses need to be planted in the early fall to get the maximum benefit. Winter rye can be planted late, even now in November. Winter rye sprouts easily and will grow even in cold weather. So do the work now, in the winter, and reap a better harvest next summer. These pictures of our winter rye show seeds, sprouts after a few days, and three weeks of recent growth at Fat Moon Farm. How cover crops help the home gardener

Check out Mother Earth News for all the scientific details about cover crops.

Get to know Elizabeth Almeida (12 Posts)

Elizabeth Almeida is founder, head farmer, chief weeder, and top taster at organic vegetable farm Fat Moon in Westford. She also plans healthy living events for the farm through the Center for Healthy Living and Learning. Foodie magazines will give you the scoop on the tastiest and trendiest foods to eat, but Elizabeth will give you the dirt on food - how it is grown, what is good to eat, and maybe some insights into the giant food system that gets us whatever we want to eat in every season. Her passion and her businesses help folks untangle their way to health!


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