Why Grow Winter Cover Crops?
- Covering crops over the cold winter protects it from erosion and helps to support all the beneficial life associated. It also gives weeds less opportunity to take over your plot!
- Good for heavy soils! It adds valuable organic matter this will help to feed the plants that follow cover crops with deep or fibrous roots such as cereal rye. Cereal rye helps to improve soil structure by breaking it up. Mustard grows very fast, producing masses of lush foliage that can be incorporated into the soil after just a few months, to boost its organic content.
- Some cover crops directly add nutrients to the soil by fixing nitrogen at their roots. Winter field beans and peas, clover and vetch are all types of legumes that are great for sowing before nitrogen hungry brass occurs.
- Good for suppressing weeds – Cabbage phacelia can be sown in late summer as it’s great for suppressing weeds and will improve your soil structure.
- Sowing a cover crop – Start by roughly digging the ground over, removing all weeds especially perennials. Tamp down the soil with the back of a rake, then scatter or broadcast your seeds evenly. Break these seeds into the soil and tamp down again.
Ethanstuckey, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons