The Great Cover Up
Rest and rejuvenation for your weary soil, green manure gives back
by Bruce Willey
The transition between summer and fall has always been an especially acute time for vegetable gardeners. Not only must we reacquaint ourselves with store-bought tomatoes that taste like gopher fur dipped in wood shavings, but we must also adapt to all the extra time on our hands as our garden beds lie fallow. There is, after all, nothing worse than a gaggle of gardeners wearing overalls and floppy hats, fondling their hoes outside a 7-Eleven and asking strangers for a spare heirloom tomato.
But as any good organic gardener knows, late summer/early fall is time to sow the cover crop. Often called green manure, cover crops have been around before the invention of the “green” light bulb, or for that matter, before “green” meant something other than the color of plants, grass and trees. Organic gardeners have long touted the benefits of green manure with the same zeal of growing their own vegetables. And they know that the two have a symbiosis that works magic in the garden.