We started the outdoor garden in 2017. We've made a lot of mistakes and learned a lot about growing outdoors in soil since then. Thanks to Per's suggestion, a volunteer since 2017, we decided to give cover cropping a chance.
In a garden, we can expect a lot and we end up taking a lot.
Planting Cover Crop Seed is a way of giving back to your garden. It isn't necessarily food for your family, it's food for your garden, which becomes food on our table.
Our first cover crop was a blend of daikon radish, winter rye, and crimson clover. We seeded this
blend on one section of the outdoor garden while growing food in the other two sections. We allowed this cover crop to grow literally covering the whole section in a blanket of shades of green. Just as the plants started to show signs of going to seed, we cut all the plants down low using a weed eater and then let that become a mulch for the garden.
We are in the process of transitioning much of our outdoor grow spaces to hugel beds. You can read more about that process here.
Part of this process has been sowing cover crop seed as the first thing we plant on the hugel beds. We made this decision based on the results we've seen with cover cropping.
We could plant annuals right off in the newly built hugel beds, but we've seen from experience the benefits of giving to your garden first before expecting it to give to you.
Our "Go To" cover crop seed for 2023 is Crimson Clover! Here's our top reasons why we chose Crimson Clover.
It is a cool season crop that can handle the cold temperatures
It has an aggressive root structure that can choke out most unwanted weeds
It feeds the honey bees at the farm and other beneficial pollinators
Most Importantly...It adds nitrogen to the soil giving us a fertile growing space for the next planting season