One of the best ways to improve soil health is to apply Cover Crop to your soil.
What is Cover Crop? Cover Crop is a mix of grass seeds that get sprinkled onto garden beds after harvest in the Fall. When they grow they "cover" the soil, protecting it from erosion. Nutrients are put back in the spring when the grasses have grown and are turned over into the soil.
• Protects soil from erosion
• Adds organic matter and replaces soil nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorous, and trace elements)
• Improves soil moisture content
• Reduces pest and weed problems
How to Plant Cover Crops
• Plant cover crops when your garden is going to be unused for an extended time, like after the Fall harvest and four weeks before killing frosts. When you are ready to plant a cover crop, clear the soil of debris and rake it smooth and spread seeds. Cover with a thin layer of soil. Keep seeds evenly moist during germination. The cover crop can protect your soil from erosion over the winter.
• The grasses will grow through to next Spring. It's important to turn them over into the soil BEFORE they go to seed. Shovel up the grass and flip it back into the soil, where it will decompose.
• Allow a few weeks for the grasses to break down and fix their nutrients into the soil before planting your first crops.
Here's a step-by-step process with photos...
1. It’s spring, and your cover crop has grown! What now? All you do is…
5. Give it a couple weeks for the cover crop to fix nutrients in the soil, then it's ready to go!