Cover Crops

Cover Crops: The What, Why, and How.

Cover crops have been used in agriculture for centuries, the practice isn’t new. However, during the mid-20th century, they fell out of favor for contemporary synthetic fertilizers. Cover crops can be used on any farm and in any garden, once you find a few that work in your environment and for your purposes, you’ll never want to go without them!

What are cover crops for?

What Are Cover Crops For - Buy Organic Garlic Seeds - Basaltic Farms

Cover crops have countless uses: stabilizing soil, fixing nitrogen, attracting beneficial insects, building soil carbon, and much more! Really, the only limit is your imagination and, of course, your climate/zone. Cover crops aren’t a quick fix or silver bullet for any issue. When used properly in conjunction with other regenerative farming practices their contribution is amplified.

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Why use cover crops?

Why Use Cover Crops - Build Organic Matter - Basaltic Farms

The real question is, why not? We use cover crops to build organic matter, suppress weeds, fix nutrients, feed bees and keep the soil covered during our rainy winters. Other farmers use cover crops to provide high-quality forage for grazing animals. You can even use a legume cover in your raised bed or potted plant to fixate nitrogen!

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How to use cover crops?

How To Use Cover Crops - Buy Organic Garlic Seeds - Basaltic Farms

Seed can be spread by hand on smaller plots, while many tools and implements exist to make larger areas more manageable. For more information on specific instruments and tools we have tried on our 8-10 acre plots, see the Spreading Seed page. 

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How Basaltic Farms Works With Cover Crops

Cover Crop Information and Resources

Managing Cover Crops Profitably – This PDF, provided by the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program, contains just about all you need to select and manage cover crops.

Cover Crops: Selection and Management – Another SARE page that Includes links to webinars, research papers, selection tools and much more! 

Cover Crop Chart – A useful chart containing 66 common cover crop species with information on growth cycle, water use, seeding depth and more! 

Cover Crop Cocktails – A great article exploring the methods of making your own seed mixtures, definitely worth a read if you’re looking to save money and maintain a diverse mix! 

Cover Crop Councils

Northeast Cover Crops Council

Southern Cover Crops Council

Midwest Cover Crops Council

Pacific Northwest Cover Crops Council

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