Top 5 cover crops for your small farm

 Cover crops are also called "green manure" and sometimes "living mulch". These are plants that are grown to suppress weeds, help build and improve soil , and control disease and pests .. They can add nitrogen to your soil, boosting fertility without using chemical fertilizers. You can plant them between rows of other crops to help suppress weeds while boosting fertility. They often have taproots that help break up compacted soils and improve their structures. They help control erosion, maintaining valuable and rich topsoil between plantings. They help retain soil moisture. And they can even boost disease resistance in other crops.

Top 5 cover crops for your small farm

So, of course, you want to plant a cover crop! The main question is, which one do you use? Different cover crops can provide different benefits, suit your climate better or worse than others, and better meet your needs at any given time. You can plant red clover between rows of vegetable crops to control weeds, but plant buckwheat in a fallow field for one season to boost fertility and improve structure. In the fall you will want to plant winter rye or vetch, but in the spring you can choose sorghum.Here are five cover crop choices for the small farm to help you determine which best suits your farm's needs.

Rye - Winter rye, grain ryeRye 

winter rye or grain rye - is an excellent cover crop to plant in the fall or early winter. It excels at loosening compacted soil and is also good for weed suppression. It also grabs excess nitrogen from the soil.


Buckwheat grows very quickly. It makes an excellent ground cover to prevent erosion and suppress weeds. Due to its fast-growing nature, it can be intercropped with other crops and can be planted in late summer.


clover, red clover, and white Dutch clover are all used as cover crops. Clover fixes nitrogen in the soil and is great for adding fertility to your soil. Yellow clover is great for improving soil structure. Medium red clover has an array of benefits and is often used by small farmers to plant between rows of vegetables.


Sorghum-sudangrass is a hybrid crop that grows quickly and forms an extensive root structure. Use it to suppress weeds and protect your soil from erosion. It also adds biomass to the soil because it grows so tall.

hairy vetch

Hairy vetch is a very winter hardy cover crop, perfect for northern climates. It also adds a lot of nitrogen to the soil if it grows during the winter and in May it can add an incredible amount of fertility to the soil.

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