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Grow Your Own Fertilizer Using Cover Crops

grow your own fertilizer

Grow Your Own Fertilizer

Buying fertilizer for gardens and crops is becoming more and more cost prohibitive while the quality becomes more and more inferior. Your plants are just not thriving like they used to, and neither is your bank account. Luckily, there is a way around this issue. You can fertilize your soil by planting cover crops.

Just what are cover crops? Cover crops are plants that helps keep the soil fertile by covering it and shielding it from the elements. The main purpose of a cover crop is to benefit the soil and is usually not harvested for sale.

Grow Your Own Fertilizer – Some of the benefits include:

Improving soil quality—When cover crops are used, water is more readily absorbed into the soil. When a field lays dormant for long periods of time, the surface will harden and rain water will run off instead of being absorbed. Cover crops slow down water evaporation and hardening by keeping it shielded from the sun. Also, earthworms and other organisms thrive when the soil remains moist.
Erosion control–Cover crops reduce the amount of soil lost to wind and water erosion. The soil is held in place by the root systems of the cover crops.
Improving fertility –Certain cover crops can add or remove nitrogen as well as phosphorus and potassium in the soil. This is very important after traditional fertilizer use, because cover crops can reduce the depletion of these nutrients.
Suppress weeds–A dense cover crop of winter rye, other another type of planting will prevent weeds from growing by reducing the amount of available sunlight.
Insect control–Beneficial insects are attracted and encouraged to set up camp by the use of cover crops.

The type of cover crop you use is dependant on the soil needs. Legumes for adding nitrogen to the soil include crimson clover, soybeans, and alfalfa. Non legume cover crops include buckwheat, rye and oats.

Most often, the size of the application, the needs of the soil, and the cost of the seed dictates what cover crop to use.

Grow Your Own Fertilizer – Drawbacks

There are some drawbacks to using cover crops that people should be aware of before utilizing such a method. If the crop does not die off naturally in the off growing season, then the farmer wold need to manually kill off or control the crop. This can be done mechanically, by hand turning or tilling, or by the use of herbicides. Cover crops will grow out of control if not regularly tended. You can find seeds for cover crops like <a href="Buckwheat at many seed companies or Amazon. Be sure you buy the seed meant to be planted out as a crop and not the seed meant to be eaten.

Grow Your Own Fertilizer – Cover Crop Video

Cover Crops
Tricia shares how to use green manure, or cover crops in your vegetable garden.

About the author

Lena