Best summer cover crops

Categories: How To
Published on: May 1, 2015

Mother Earth News / Harvey Ussery / August/September 2014

BuckwheatNo gardening practice yields as many benefits as cover cropping, and growing cover crops in every season is as important as producing vegetables for your table. We too often think gardening reduces soil fertility, but in fact, the more you keep live plants growing, the richer your soil will become. Roots exude substances that feed beneficial soil organisms, including the amazing mycorrhizae. Deep-rooted plants draw minerals from subsoil, which makes the minerals available to shallow-rooted crops. Dead plants, including invisible roots, decompose and release nutrients for use by subsequent crops. Plants also prevent soil erosion, and decomposing roots open channels for oxygen and rain, and provide pathways through which earthworms and other important organisms can migrate. Repeated seasons of organic matter deposition will increase soil carbon, or “humus,” which is crucial to soil fertility, friable texture and water retention.

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