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Q: A Low-Growing Cover Crop

Jul 22, 2009 -

A PVFS customer email - with reply from our staff.

Question:

I have 5 beds, 3’ x 8’ that are comprised of 6” high cinder blocks.  The soil that the blocks are sitting on is clay and poor.  What cover crop seeds would you recommend for a 70 year old woman to be able to “turn under” by hand in the coming spring and that will not become invasive?

Answer:

Since you want to turn under your cover crop in Spring, I’ll assume you want a cool season seed that will be put out in fall. I don’t know where you live so you’ll have to check for appropriate hardiness zones. One of my favorite small clovers is Nitro Persian. It’s easy to work with and the flower smells wonderful. Foenugreek & Garbanzo Beans will be taller but also worth a try. If you cut the cover crop in spring before it makes seed, it shouldn’t become invasive.

Hope this helps,



Amy Says:
Jun 8th, 2012 at 6:02 pm

We are renting a garden plot for the first time this year. We plan to rent the same plot in the future. Every spring, the owner tills the entire field and sprays nitrogen. (other than that it is organic we cant control the owner) The field has been in production as Hmong gardens for the last 35 years. We’ve found that the soil is not great. It compacts very easily, crusts over, and forms huge hard clumps. We’ve added a lot of compost to the individual “beds” that we created before we planted. Weeds are plentiful. We would like to do what we can to improve the soil quality since we plan on keeping the plot in the future. Do you have any low cost suggestions?  We are planning to continue to add compost throughout the summer.  We were considering planting some clover or other low growing green manure in between the beds. And planting additional cover crops as the beds play out for the season. We would also like recommendations for mulch or cover crops for the walkways that can help surpress weeds this season and build the soil for next. Any and all thoughts and recommendations you might have are appreciated.

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