The idea of growing a crop purely to benefit the soil and other plants is not a new idea, but is one that is seeing a resurgence of interest as a way of ensuring the soil, promoting soil and crop health.
Cover crops/green manures are planted into bare ground either on their own or as an understory to a main crop. When established, the roots draw nutrients (including phosphate and potash) that would otherwise be lost or unavailable out of the soil, storing them in the plant cells and root nodules.
Prior to sowing the next cash crop, the cover crop/green manure is incorporated into the soil, adding humus as it rots down and releasing the nutrients it has stored in a more readily-available form for the cash crop to use.
Cover crops/green manures, grown within a rotation can:
- Build soil organic matter and soil structure
- Supply nitrogen for a following crop
- Raise essential crop nutrients, including phosphate and potash, from lower soil profiles
- Prevent leaching of soluble nutrients from the soil
- Provide ground cover, helping prevent damage to soil structure
- Smother weeds and prevent weed seedling growth
See below for details of our most popular Cover Crops & Green Manures: