Hairy-Vetch cover crop by walts organic fertilizers

What is cover crop or green manure
and why use them?

Cover crops can:

  • Protect your soil from runoff and erosion
  • Recycle and supply nutrients
  • Replace soil organic matter
  • Suppress weeds
  • Attract beneficial insects
  • Break up compacted soils





When and why:

Cover Crop When to Sow When to Turn Under Key Benefits
Phacelia End of Mar – Early August 40-55 days after sowing Provides food for beneficial insects. Pretty flowers, a lot of organic matter, smothers weeds
Alyssum End of Mar – Early August 3 weeks before planting next crop Provides food for beneficial insects. Pretty flowers and a lot of organic matter
Buckwheat April – early Aug 40-55 days after sowing Produces a lot of organic matter and smothers weeds. Provides food for beneficial insects.
Dutch White Clover Apr-Jun, Aug-Sep cut 2 or more times a month Nitrogen fixing, great as a living mulch under trees and in areas with foot traffic
Crimson Clover Sep – Oct Apr – May Easy to turn, beautiful blooms, can be sown under existing crops
Cayuse Oats Sep – Oct Apr – May Quick, weed-suppressing biomass, can improve the productivity of legumes when planted together
Rye Sep – Early Nov Apr Grows well in cool conditions, supports legumes
Hairy Vetch Sep – Early Nov Mar – Apr Nitrogen fixing, good biomass, feeds beneficial insects. Best if mixed with a cereal (rye or oats).
Fava Oct-early Nov May Taproot breaks up compacted soils and adds organic matter, flowers are edible
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