Monday, May 23, 2011

The benefits of cover crops

This is how the future corn field looked in early Spring.
Instead of bare land that would easily germinate weed seeds, it is best to plant a quick growing cover crop.

This is the same area about a month later covered with field peas. I won't actually harvest any peas though. The point is to allow the field peas to naturally fix nitrogen into the soil that will benefit the future planted corn. The vegetation will be cut and tilled back into the soil to add tilth as well. This is how nature naturally creates soil nutrition that can support future crops. I bought a 25 lb bag online and will do this again in the Fall to overwinter and till into the soil in the Spring for the next Summer planting. You can also plant Summer cover crops such as Buckwheat or clover but I'll be growing corn, beans and squash during that time.