Why you should give cover crops some space in your garden. That’s coming up on This Land of Ours.
Cover crops provide many benefits for your garden because they suppress weeds, attract pollinators and add nitrogen to the soil. Cover crops like oilseed or tillage radish can be used to break up compacted soil, with long taproots that loosen hardpan and draw up nutrients for future crops. By serving as a living blanket, cover crops help minimize soil erosion.
Oats are a great choice for backyard gardeners as they winterkill. When oats die back, they form a protective mat on the soil that can easily be planted through in spring.
Vegetable gardens are inherently disturbed environments, but cover crops can provide a semblance of the natural cycles that characterize undisturbed meadows and forests – where biomass accumulates and decomposes, slowly building soils. They give soil bacteria an infusion of raw, local foods, rather than just compost and expensive soil supplements (often mined in distant places).
Listen to Cathy Isom’s This Land of Ours report here.