What is a Cover Crop?
Cover Crops are a tool many growers use to do soil improvements and help out their growing operation without adding in fertilizers or leaving their soil to be blown away. This practice has been utilized for over 3000 years and can often be referred to as green manure or living mulch. There are several different types of cover crops to choose from and can be mixed to meet many different needs.
Types of Cover Crops
Many plant species can be used as cover crops. Legumes and grasses (including cereals) are the most extensively used, but there is increasing interest in brassicas (such as rapeseed, mustard and oilseed radish, which is also known as forage radish) and continued interest in summer cover crops, including buckwheat, millets and summer legumes such as cowpeas and sunn hemp. Some of the most important cover crops are discussed below. Source: SARE
How can Cover Crops help?
Cover Crops are multi-purposed in use. Soil erosion, catching and cycling nutrients, fixing nitrogen, smothering weeds, bio-fumigating pests, loosening compacted soil, growing biomass and organic matter, improving soil water levels and providing cover for the soil surface.
Want to learn more about implementing cover crops here in Alaska? Join us for our Cover Crop class in AgBootCamp along with many other classes covering aspects of growing in Alaska.