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Plant Your Own Fertilizer - Cover Cropping and Green Manuring

Plant your own fertilizer this fall to improve next year’s garden.

Cover crops and green manuring have long been used to suppress weeds, improve soil structure and add nitrogen.

Cover cropping is simply planting legumes, rye, buckwheat or other crops to cover the soil until you are ready to garden or landscape. When the cover crop is tilled into the soil it is considered green manure.

Many gardeners plant a cover crop in fall and till it into the soil in spring. Plant early enough so the crop can become established before winter. This also helps the cover crop withstand wildlife that may graze upon this green treat. Dig or till the cover crop into the soil at least one month prior to planting.

You can also plant in spring and till it into the soil at least two weeks prior to planting.  You may need to till twice to adequately kill clover.

A bit more information:  If you don’t mind sacrificing the summer growing season, try planting cover crops in spring. This allows the plants plenty of time to establish before winter.


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