Cover crop for small garden #798524

Asked June 29, 2022, 11:16 AM EDT

I have a small backyard garden with sandy ground.I am interested in trying a cover crop after I harvest each row.I live in South West Minnesota. What crop would you recommend.

Brown County Minnesota

Expert Response

The following website gives information on cover crops to use in gardens.  Annual clover is a good one for fixing nitrogen in the soil. And it will be gone in spring when you are ready to plant again.
Marykay Haas Replied June 29, 2022, 6:02 PM EDT

Will annual clover invade other areas of the yard? I have literally been on my hands and knees to dig the white flowered clover from my lawn for the last three years. If there is an annual clover where would I buy it?

Carol Goblirsch Replied June 29, 2022, 10:55 PM EDT
Yes some will. But as the article states, you kill it when you till it back into the soil.  If you want a cover that you don’t have to till and will die over the winter use rye grass or oats. However, they grow best in cool weather so they may not work as well if you are harvesting in hot weather and replanting cover immediately.

Here is an example of an annual clover that grows well in sandy soil. Although it usually is killed by low temps, if any survives you will need to till it. You are most likely to find it at a farm store or google “crimson clover” and click on the shopping tab.
Marykay Haas Replied June 30, 2022, 9:16 AM EDT
Thank you!

On Thu, Jun 30, 2022, 8:16 AM Ask Extension <> wrote:
Carol Goblirsch Replied June 30, 2022, 12:02 PM EDT
Is it ok to plant the cover crop of crimson clover where I want to plant green beans next year?

On Thu, Jun 30, 2022, 10:59 AM Carol Goblirsch <> wrote:
Thank you!

On Thu, Jun 30, 2022, 8:16 AM Ask Extension <> wrote:
Carol Goblirsch Replied June 30, 2022, 3:02 PM EDT
Yes, just be aware that you will have extra nitrogen in the soil.  So you do not want to add too much nitrogen fertilizer.  If you add too much nitrogen the green beans will grow greenery at the expense of beans.
Marykay Haas Replied June 30, 2022, 5:52 PM EDT

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