Creating Beautiful Garden Soils By Cover Cropping

Cover Cropping Garden Soils

The main benefit of cover cropping the garden is the many beneficial nutrients that they can incorporate into the soils. Not only can they improve your garden soils but they can also control weeds, increase yields, and reduce soil erosion. Cover cropping soil also allows you to plant year-round keeping your garden manageable and workable for future growing seasons. When picking the right cover crop for your area keep in mind what your soil needs to improve on for the next growing season. As with all cover crops, remember they should be cut or mowed down before going to seed in order to prevent reseeding issues in the future.

Planting Sorghum Sudangrass

When planting a warm-season cover crop such as Sorghum Sudangrass this is a fast producing crop that quickly outpaces the growth of competing weeds. Some of the benefits that sudangrass adds into the soil is outstanding “green manure” that adds a significant amount of organic matter to increase soil health and tilth once incorporated into the garden soil. Also, with the addition of organic matter through cover cropping, we are able to suppress nematode populations. The ideal time to plant sudangrass is once soils reach around 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit and can be broadcasted or planted with a planter like our Hoss Garden Seeder. Although it can be planted in the Spring we recommend using it as a transition crop between Spring and Fall crops to get the best results. Currently, in the garden, we had a nice thick stand of sudangrass vegetation that we laid or crimped in the area. Once the area was crimped then we laid a silage tarp over top to help kill off all the vegetation. After a couple of weeks of the tarp being on the area, it is now time to remove it to see how the soil is doing in the garden spot. The tarp did an excellent job of killing off all the vegetation and we are able to see just how great the cover crop was broken down throughout the area. Now, it’s time to add some good quality compost that we can broadcast all throughout the soil and then either re-tarp it or till it until we are ready to plant in the area again.

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