winter cover crop

Asked September 5, 2014, 8:03 AM EDT

What would be the best cover crop for my 40'x40' vegetable garden this winter. We live between Cleburne and Grandview 50 miles north of Waco. Sandy soil.

Thanks

Johnson County Texas

1 Response

As vegetables are harvested, pull up the plants and either leave them on the soil surface to decompose, place them in the compost pile or, if diseased, burned or throw them in the garbage. To maintain a sustainable soil for vegetable gardening year after year, it is important to replenish the soil after each harvest. This is done by adding compost and covering the soil with mulch to eliminate moisture loss and soil erosion as well as to add organic matter.

A living mulch or cover crop, called green manure, is an excellent way to both protect the soil from erosion and add organic matter to the soil. In late summer or early fall, the cover crop is planted and this will germinate and begin to grow prior to fall freeze. This crop is subsequently tilled into the soil the following spring and the garden is ready to be planted. The most common cover crop is annual ryegrass, planted at 1-2 lb per 1000sqft., because it is quick to germinate and breaks down quickly after tilling.