For this fall and winter, I have decided to plant cover crops to help out the gardens with nitrogen and organic matter that the gardens need to have a great season next year.
Back in April I added compost to the top as a top dressing and rotated the crops to a different garden from last year.
Which totally backfired on me. I didn’t have enough nitrogen or organic matter in the soil to do it.
It also didn’t help that the Boston area had one of the worse winters in history.
I planted the cold weather plants in mid-April once the soil in the raised beds defrosted. By the time when mid-May came here it was close to 70 degrees.
Which was pretty bad for the cold weather plants that I had planted for the early harvest. Since most of them bolted and went to seed.
This summer’s growing season hasn’t been that great this year for me either.
It is now the beginning of August and the garden has given us few good things, but the yields have been really low.
Even with the vermicompost and worm tea that I feed the garden, it seems like it still wasn’t enough.
The vermicompost and worm tea did a good job with the plants for the most part. The thing is it can only do so much by itself. It needs more help from other sources.
What Cover Crops am I using?
So what I am looking to is use a winter cover crop for no-till gardening. The cover crops seed that I am using this fall and winter are Hairy Vetch and Winter Rye, and purple top turnips.
The Hairy Vetch is a winter legume that can handle the cold winters here. Once it is time to cut them down in springtime. They put nitrogen back into the ground.
The Winter Rye can also handle the winter in this area. Once springtime comes I also need to cut them down. The Winter Rye puts down organic matter, which also helps out the soil.
Since I only have an 8 inch deep raised garden bed and The turnips will help with keeping the soil fluffy and impacted.
With this combination, I was told that it should be all I need to bring the soil back to what I want it to be.
I have also been told that once they are cut down, both of them will make a great mulch for the gardens so don’t get rid of them.
Now when you cut it you need to cut it close to the soil and leave the roots intact. What that does is
- Put the nitrogen and organic matter back in.
- Help with aeration
- Helps with bringing earthworms into the garden.
I am hoping that this will help with recovering the garden.