Monday, September 17, 2007

Fall is Coming

After one last burst of bonus summer it seems fall is settling in. The tomatoes and beans are starting to look a little tired, cucumbers have slowed down. And Ive been clearing out faded flowers and planning my cover crops.

Cover Crops are plants you can grow in the off season. The goal is to protect the soil from errosion and to enrich the soil with organic matter. Many cover crops will also fix nitrogen, which means add nitrogen which has been depleted during the growing season back into the soil.

The idea is that you grow the cover crop in your gardening beds and before it goes to seed you till the cover crop into the soil. In just a few weeks the soil will be ready for seeds or starts.

Suitable cover crop plants include:
Clover (especially white clover and crimson clover)
Annual Rye Grass
Fall Cereal Rye
Austrian Peas
Fava Beans
Common Vetch
Hairy Vetch
or a blend of several cover crop plants

Try it in part of your garden to start. You will probably find that you can use less compost and fertilizer by using cover crops as part of your sustainable practice.

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