Row By Row Episode 109: Benefits of Warm-Season Cover Crops in The Vegetable Garden

The Benefits of Cover Crops

Being in Zone 8, we must plant warm-season cover crops to ensure that we will have a successful vegetable garden. Zone 8 contains South West Georgia, which is where Hoss Tools is located. With our warmer temperatures throughout the year, we can push our soils to the limits. Pushing our land creates a greater need for adding that nutrients and pH back to the ground, and warm-season cover crops are perfect for that job.

As many gardeners know, it is essential to rotate your crops in one plot. For example, if one season you plant peppers, you don’t want to follow it up the next season with peppers because they will not do as well. The soil will be missing the specific nutrients those peppers need. With planting cover crops, they will add those nutrients back into the ground in between plantings. Cover crops make crop rotation less critical.

A rule of thumb we at Hoss Tools like to go by is making sure we put as least amount of input into our cover crops. Cover crops are meant to be an easy crop planted between you Summer and Fall vegetable gardens that will give you a higher output with less input. You don’t want to add a lot to something that is supposed to be benefiting you. Such as, we don’t fertilize our cover crops or put them on drip irrigation. We save those things for our cash crops!!

Our Favorite Warm-Season Cover Crops

There are four warm-season cover crops we believe will take your soil to the next level. Each cover-crop focuses on adding something different to your land and can be combined to make sure they meet your garden’s specific needs.

  1. Sorghum Sudangrass– This cover crop is a monocot that is easy to mow and improves soil drainage. It also provides nematode suppression and adds excellent green manure.
  2. Brown Top Millet– This is our other monocot cover crop that matures in 60-70 days. This Brown Top Millet is excellent for sandy soils and is heat and drought tolerant.
  3. Sunn Hemp– A perfect nitrogen-fixer!! This specific cover crop is great for following heavy-feeding crops like corn, and it also suppresses nematodes.
  4. Buckwheat– Buckwheat is the fastest maturing out of the following as it grows in 30-50 days. Bees love this crop, and it helps break pests and disease cycles!
  5. Iron Clay Peas– These peas are easy to incorporate, and they attract beneficial insects to the garden. Maturing in 80-90 days, it also is a nitrogen-fixer and suppresses weeds.

Show and Tell Segment

It has been a season of excitement around Hoss Tools, and on this week’s Row by Row show, we announced another reason to continue watching, we are creating a cookbook!! This recipe book will contain our customer’s recipes and a mix of our own. Each submission will center around something that we can grow in the vegetable garden! It wouldn’t be a Hoss Tools announcement though if we weren’t snacking on something yummy! This week it was the Sangria Watermelon, Greg picked these earlier this week, and this variety might be one of his new favorites.

One recipe we want to add to the Hoss Cook Book will be our famous BLT! This week our Chef’s Choice Orange Tomato is at the perfect ripeness, and we cut some big juicy slices to make the BEST BLT! This tomato variety offers many other colors, and we look forward to adding them to the site soon since these were such a winner!

Question and Answer Segment

As always, we want to answer some of our viewer’s questions. We understand that gardening can be intimidating, and even if you’ve been doing it for years, there will be things where you need help. This week one of our questions asked about curing winter squash. Greg explained that not all winter squash has to be cured and stored. The ones that do, though, you want to place out of the sun in a cool, dry area, just as you would potatoes and onions.

We then had two viewers ask for some seed recommendations. Joy Rocks wanted to know if we had a speckled butter bean, and we told her that our Christmas Lima Bean is a winner!! Jim then wanted to know what would be a good fall pea or bean, and the guys let him know that you can’t fail with the Rattlesnake or the Kentucky Blue!

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