Cover Crop or Green Manure Seeds for the small scale producer
Being a good steward of the land that has been entrusted to your care is just common sense. How well you take care of it will determine how well your crops perform and thus, how well your soil will take care of you. The seeds included in this category are intended to be used as cover crops. It is always a good idea to allow land to lie fallow for some period of time using cover crops to prevent erosion and to improve both the fertility and the structure of the soil.
As part of our farm plan here at the Victory Seed Company, we maintain the health and fertility of our soil using a combination of composting, mulching and cover cropping. For large areas, we typically sow a four part mixture of vetch, clover, annual rye and field or Austrian peas.
The species and ratios used in cover cropping mixes depends on your climate, soil composition, fertility, personal preferences, etc. Here on our farm, the primary reason for sowing cover crops is to prevent erosion and the leaching of nutrients from the soil during our long rainy season. The secondary goals are to use legumes to increase nitrogen levels and using annual ryegrass (about 50% of our mix) to produce biomass to suppress weed growth and to ultimately improve soil structure and tilth. Included below are resources to aide in learning about cover cropping.