Planting a Cover Crop

After we harvested the potatoes, the two beds the potatoes were growing in became overgrown with weeds. Instead of covering these beds with tarp like we had with other beds, we decided to plant a cover crop.

Cover crops stop new weeds from growing while also adding nutrients to the soil. For our cover crop, we planted heirloom field peas and hulled oat seeds. We had to plant them six to eight weeks before the first frost, although they can also be planted in the spring. The pea plants will bring more bees into the garden, and their shoots are even edible. The oats will give the soil more nitrogen once they die from the first frost and then decompose. These plants do three jobs in one: stop weeds, act as fertilizer, and provide something to eat.

To plant our cover crop, we removed all the weeds from the bed. Then, we broke up the soil with a shovel and raked. Next, we raked the soil to the side of the bed. We sprinkled the seeds into the bed, and then pushed the mounds of soil on top of the seeds. Last, we watered the beds.

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