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Include cover crops in your garden this year

Close-up photo of a red clover cover crop, zoomed in on two flowers.
Red clover cover crop

As you finalize your garden plans for 2021, take some time to schedule planting windows for cover crops. We've just released a new guide to cover crops that are well suited to various windows of time during a vegetable rotation, with specific cover crop recommendations for each window.

These windows include:

  • Fall/winter cover crops to plant following vegetables harvested in August like melons, cucumbers and sweet corn.
  • Overwintering cover crops to plant after late-season vegetables that finish in September like tomatoes, peppers and pumpkins.
  • Spring cover crops to plant before vegetables planted at midsummer like broccoli, carrots and beets.
  • Late summer cover crops to plant after early spring crops that are harvested at midsummer like broccoli, peas and turnips.
  • Summer cover crops for short windows of time between early spring and late summer crops like lettuce and peas. 

Check out our new guide for an overview of planting windows on vegetable farms, and cover crops that work well for each distinct window of time. While this guide was developed primarily with commercial vegetable growers in mind, the information is still completely relevant to smaller scale gardeners.

Author: Natalie Hoidal, Extension educator, local foods and vegetable crops

Related topics: Yard and Garden News
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