cultivation of a second type of crop primarily to improve the production system for a primary crop; examples include grasses or legumes maintained in orchards or vineyards and legume or other crops grown during the winter season to improve soil condition. A crop, such as winter rye or clover, planted between periods of regular crop production to prevent soil erosion and provide humus or nitrogen. Plowed under, a cover crop becomes a green manure.
Plants, such as rye, alfalfa, or clover, that can be planted immediately after harvest to hold and protect the soil.
Cover crops are grasses, legumes, or small grains grown between regular grain production periods for the purpose of protecting and improving the soil. For water erosion control, the winter cover crops hold the soil together until spring, helping to keep nutrients in the land and reduce run off. Cover crops also protect the land from the harsh forces of the wind.
Small grains (rye, barley or wheat) planted without fertilizer in September or early October on land otherwise fallow. This practice reduces nitrate leaching losses during the winter, and also reduces erosion.
Densely seeded crops (such as rye, oats, and wheat) planted in the interim period between principal crop production to protect soil from erosion.
Plants that are used in rotations, particularly legumes, for the nitrogen they supply. These plants, plowed into the soil for humus, also loosen the soil, improve soil texture, may house beneficial insects and keep weeds down.
crops planted for the purpose of building organic matter, decreasing erosion, adding nitrogen through nitrogen fixation, smothering weeds and a host of other reasons. At Spring Ledge, we grow oats in the fall for erosion control and weed competition. We grow hairy vetch to add nitrogen to the soil through nitrogen fixation. We grow winter rye for an overwintering crop to provide masses of organic matter to the soil. Home gardeners can utilize cover crops as well to help rotate the garden and keep organic matter high. Here are links to a sites with more information and cover crop seeds. (Johnny's) (Territorial) (North Country Organics).