Sunday, September 29, 2013

Cover Crops

Hairy Vetch Cover Crop

Bean Plant Cover Crop growing out of the Kitchen Gardener trailer.
Cover crops are a great way to improve your soil without adding a lot of compost. They also help cover up a dirt patch in your yard and improve that area for next seasons garden. You want to avoid bare soil in your yard or garden.

Some great examples of cover crops are clover, vetch, rye, buckwheat, beans, and cow peas. Beans and cow peas are great because they add nitrogen to the soil. Some people use the "green manure method," where the gardener chops down the plants when they are small. This gives your soil a nitrogen burst but is not our favorite method because the improvement is short lived. If you let the plants grow until they die back on their own, you will have durable organic matter to improve your soil. 

We love to throw out cover crop seeds right before it rains so the rain will water in all the seeds. You will have a field of greens in no time. So this weekend and week is a great time to throw out your seeds in Austin.

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