To Cover or Not to Cover – That is the Question

posted in: Uncategorized | 0

Now that your summer garden is over, you have the choice to plant a cover crop or just leave it to the elements of the weather until next spring.

If you choose to cover, these are your advantages:

  1. Adds organic matter to your soil
  2. Prevents wind and water erosion
  3. Blocks out unwanted winter weeds
  4. Roots of cover crops aerate compacted soils

Some disadvantages of planting a cover crop:

  1. Cover crops should be plowed under six weeks prior to planting spring garden or prior to seed production, whichever occurs first.
  2. Not all gardeners have the necessary plows and equipment to plow under cover crops.

Some cool season (winter) cover crops to plant now are in the table below.


Seeding Rate per 1000 Square Feet

Rye Grain

3 to 4 pounds

Hairy Vetch

1/2 to 1 pound


4 to 5 pounds


1/2 to 1 pound

Rye Grass

1 to 2 pounds

Daikon Radish*

2 to 3 ounces

*Daikon Radish is sometimes referred to as a “subsoiler in a bag.” It grows 2 inches in diameter and more than 14 inches long.