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Benefits & Types of Cover Crops

Cover Crops

Cover cropping is a sustainable method of utilising a variety of cover crops to add organic matter to your soil. These seedlings can then easily be broken down into nutrients for your plants to boost soil health and increase crop yield. Cover cropping preserves and gives back to the soil for future foods and medicines grown, this is the most important reason to make use of this in your garden.

The process of cover cropping is taken from nature. Plants naturally grow and die throughout the seasons, year after year. When those plants are returned to the soil, they provide a host of nutrients to the soil and food for the ecosystem around them. 

Cover Crops

Benefits of Cover Cropping

One of the most useful benefits of cover cropping is in the value of the micro crops or sprouts. These seedlings are packed full of the nutrients and energy required to grow strong and healthy plants. There are several benefits of cover cropping:

  • Provide essential nutrients and minerals to plants and microorganisms 
  • Reduce the need for pesticides and herbicides
  • Prevent soil erosion and improve crop yields 
  • Are drought and heat tolerable
  • Conserve soil moisture while utilising low amounts of water to grow
  • Adds biomass and adds nitrogen back into the soil
  • Controls harmful nematodes
  • Attract beneficial insects and earthworms
  • Fast sprouting and rapid growing

Different Cover Crop Types

Cover crops come in wide different varieties and each has its own particular benefits for your soil ecology:

  1. Some crops are used to “fix” poor soil quality by drawing nitrogen from the atmosphere.
  2. Others will “mine” heavy metals from the soil depths by pulling them out. 
  3. Certain types of cover crops will “reserve” nutrients by storing them during rest periods of crop rotation.
  4. Other crops help bring balance to the soil’s nutrient content.

Organicraft’s Cover Crops

Our Clover Medley cover crops are, as you guessed it, a medley of available clovers. Clovers used as cover crops are earthworm heaven and suppress weeds while attracting beneficial insects.

The Sea of Cover is a medley of 8 -21 different crops, adjusted seasonally. These include green manure forage crops as well as nitrogen fixers and living mulch crops. Our Sea of Cover cover crops is perfect for anytime addition to the organic matter in your soil. Grow them up, chop them down, and sit back and watch nature enjoy the bounty.

Wild Grass Seed is a medley of indigenous wild grass seeds used as grass or living mulch. These cover crops include Eragrostis Curvula (weeping lovegrass), Rhodes grass, Smutsfinger and Teff. 

Using Cover Crops

Plant your cover crops approximately 2 to 3 cm below your soil. Your seeds can also be sprinkled on top of your soil if you are covering them with mulch – ideally a thin layer so the seedlings can grow through. Most cover crops will begin to germinate within 7 to 14 days after planting and need to be watered every 2 to 3 days.

Once your crops begin to sprout, they will need to be watered every second day and should be allowed to grow up to 10 to 15 cm tall. Once grown enough, your crops should be harvested by cutting them at the base of their stems – they will then break down forming a humic layer to be digested by the different micro-life into plant nutrients. Your crops can also be harvested by uprooting them and laying them down on the topsoil or even used for mulch (particular varieties are preferred).

Cover Crops

All of Oranicraft’s cover crops can be used and harvested in the same way. It’s essential to keep your soil moist and to check on them. Take a look at all of our cover crop varieties and see which ones will boost your growth!

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