Benefits of cover crops

I’ve been reading a lot of Wendell Berry recently again. Of all the places I lived as a child, I lived in Kentucky the longest, and have a natural affinity for Berry and his family farm there.

A reoccurring theme in his books and essays is one of simply needing more farmers. We need more farmers so we can pay more attention to the ground, and not just during harvest. He (wisely) laments the lack of cover crops in the typical agribusiness farm and notes it’s direct contribution to the loss of topsoil.

I took that to heart last year and began using cover crops as a way of not only retaining our topsoil, but adding nitrogen and other material to the beds more quickly and effectively with this green manure. This photo is last year’s potato patch – this year’s shelling pea patch – with the cover crop in process of being cut down and turned into the soil.