Definition - What does Cover Crop mean?
Cover crops are plants grown outdoors for the purpose of enhancing the quality of the soil. They help make soil fertile, prevent erosion, regulate water, reduce weeds, increase biodiversity, and improve farming as a whole. These types of crops are also used in landscaping to enhance the look of a property.
Cover crops stay low to the ground, are cheap to plant, and don't require much maintenance. Popular options for cover crops are buckwheat, clover, rye, field peas, and sudangrass. Cover crops are mainly used in large fields or in-ground gardens rather than raised beds.
MaximumYield explains Cover Crop
Cover crops are mostly used to prevent and manage soil erosion. As the number and density of cover crops increase, the speed of flowing water is reduced and the soil stays intact. Cover crops also hold the position and increase the porosity of the soil and thus enrich the soil for a few more years.
Cover crops also increase the fertility of the soil and are commonly known as green manure. They are highly beneficial in increasing nitrogen content, a primary plant nutrient. Having more crops planted in the soil also means more organic matter, which directly contributes to the quality of the soil and produces healthier and better food.
Cover crops also help manage water and moisture levels in the soil, and provide tough competition to the unwanted weeds that grow in the soil. Some cover crops of little value can also be used as baits to trick and distract pests from the better, more valuable crops. When used in this way, cover crops can be considered companion plants.
Planting a cover crop is considered by many gardeners to be one of the most clever and sustainable methods of agriculture.