Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Beauty of a Cover Crop

Cover crops are an excellent way to improve the soil without adding chemical fertilizers - and they look great too! Today while driving home from a talk I gave on plant propagation I drove down an old country road and took a few pictures of the red clover. Most likely the farmer is using the clover to enrich the soil with nitrogen before tuning it under and planting a crop of corn. Clover is a legume and fixes nitrogen into the soil if it is allowed to decompose.

cover crop, red clover

The added benefit of choosing red clover as a cover crop is its appearance in the spring! It covers the fields with drifts of red. 

cover crop, red clover


According to Cornell red clover also supports lady beetles and green lacewings which are both predator insects and beneficial insects for the garden!

cover crop, red clover


What cover crops do you use?

4 comments :

  1. Red Clover also makes an excellent herbal infusion/strong tea. It is traditionally used as a tonic helping many body functions. Do a search for using the flowers as well as using it as an excellent cover crop. LOVE Red Clover! Thanks for the gorgeous photos!

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  2. Marigolds are also a great cover crop..

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  3. What a pretty cover crop. We used buckwheat as our cover crop last year. It worked great. I would like to try clover one year. BTW, I'm currently hosting a giveaway of pie cutters on my blog. If you're interested, today is the last day to enter. http://nycgardening.blogspot.com/2011/04/400-and-100-and-giveaway.html

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  4. I love seeing red clover this time of year. one thing though - bees love it too, so if you have kids, you might not want a whole lot of it where they play :-)

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