Infuriated by big corporations making huge profits off of our food crops, I delved into learning the histories of gardening. In my zealous search of all things organic, I stumbled upon Cover Crops.
Before the advent of chemical fertilizers, cover crops were used. The ingenuous farmers of days forgotten would plant these crops for the purpose of adding nitrogen back into the system and feeding livestock during the winter months. The practice of using cover crops would aerate and return organic materials to the soil.
I know a lot of seasoned gardeners may still remember doing this practice, but as an urban gardener, the practice was never handed down to me. I feel like that it is a dying art and needs to be practiced more in horticulture. Most of the gardening channels on youtube I follow never speak of it. Most gardening today consists of adding compost, manure and organics into the earth to bring back the NPK to make it more suitable for growing.
After my research, I found one crop that I am using in my garden this fall. Hairy Vetch, “cool name”, has all the properties that I feel will add nitrogen back into my soil naturally and will last throughout the hard winters. They put off a nice purple flower that could also help bees to stave off cold winters as well. Hairy Vetch is also in the legume family and is known as “green manure”.
I encourage all gardeners to do the research and try something new every year. We are all just mad little scientists running around in our back yards and gardens. This is one experiment that we all should try at least once and see what our fore farmers had right.
Links that I found on cover crops and Hairy Vetch are below.