Cover Crops for the Garden

By on September 19, 2014

In this video, Tricia will show you how to plant green manure, or cover crops, in your vegetable garden.

  Comments (7)


Growing Guide for cover crops please

Posted by karen khan on Aug. 19, 2011 at 1:25:18 PM


I live in Virginia in a high-rise condominium surrounded with numerous trees.  We would like to plant flowers around the base of several trees but are concerned about the clay type consistency of the soil.  Is planting a cover crop and appropriate solutions and what type would you suggest?  Thank you in advance.

Posted by Al Lambert on Aug. 19, 2011 at 3:28:51 PM

Here’s the Growing Guide link:

Posted by on Aug. 19, 2011 at 5:23:34 PM


Al, A cover crop is usually tilled into the soil after it does its job, and you probably don’t want to till close to the trees.

Compost would be a good way to improve your soil. Add a 3 to 4-inch layer of compost and then a 4-inch layer of mulch around the tree, keeping those materials 4 inches away from the tree trunk and slope them away from the trunk. For more details about mulching near trees see our video and blog post on planting a potted tree

The microorganisms in the compost will go to work in your clay soil and increase the drainage. You should see improvement in the springtime.

What kinds of trees are they?

Posted by Charlotte, Peaceful Valley on Sep. 25, 2011 at 2:49:46 PM


Hopefully you can send me a downloadable PDF of your Cover Crops Solutions Chart.  I would like to make copies available for my talk to my Master Gardener group.
Carol O’Donnell, Master Gardener San Mateo/San Francisco Counties

Posted by Carol O'Donnell on Mar. 14, 2012 at 7:02:35 PM


I’ve never done this, but want to do so this month of Sept.  My question is when the cover crop is grown, and early Spring has arrived, then I cut the cover crop down and just mix it into the soil, right?  (I have two small vegetable sections about 3 x 8 feet.

Posted by Kay Harris on Sep. 15, 2016 at 5:45:30 PM


Kay, yes in the spring when about half of the cover crop is in bloom you can cut it down. I like to use a weed eater and start at the top of the cover crop and cut it into smaller pieces rather than cutting it at the bottom. The smaller pieces will break down faster. I usually let the cut cover crop sit a couple of weeks after cutting, then I turn it under with a garden fork. I would not plant right away after turning under, let it take another couple of weeks to break down.

Posted by Suzanne on Sep. 16, 2016 at 12:52:12 PM

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