Cover crops for a garden

Q: What would be a good soil-improving cover crop? How do I plant it?

A: Cover crops prevent erosion and enrich the soil when you have nothing growing in your vegetable garden. Cool-season cover crops can be planted from early September into the first part of October. Use a combination of a cereal grain with some type of legume. Typically, wheat, oats or rye is planted with clover or winter peas.

Do not use ryegrass, commonly used in lawns. It is hard to eliminate once you’ve introduced it.

A typical mix might be 3 to 4 pounds of a cereal grain with 0.25 pounds of legume seed per 1,000 square feet. Summer cover crops include buckwheat, millet, cowpeas, sorghum-sudangrass or soybeans. Depending on your selection, plant at a rate of 1 to 5 pounds of seed per 1,000 square feet.

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Cover crops for gardens