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Green Manure and Cover Crop Resources Common vetch

As gardeners, we know how to grow plants. Cover crops and green manures are no different. We just need to know three basic pieces of information to make green manures work in our gardens: what to plant, when to plant, and when to kill.

Luckily, other people have done the research for us and have compiled cover crop and green manure guides that tell us exactly what we need to know. In the links below you’ll find cover crop guides for specific regions, completely comprehensive compendiums of green manure choices and techniques, and to-the-point publications that tell us what we need to do and when. Some university sites are also dedicated to giving us the most up-to-date and recent cover crop advances. As more and more of agriculture is turning to cover crops, no-till, and soil health to improve yields, new innovations are constantly developed. Who knows, you may find your own green manure wonder as you experiment with how to cover ground in your own garden.

Regional Cover Crop and Green Manure Resources

Cornell Cover Crop Guide

This is the all-around best online cover crop resource I’ve found. Easy to use and well-organized, it provides basic information for all the major cover crop species, a straightforward online cover crop selection tool, and a guide to crop choices by season. Written for Northeast growers, it’s also useful for anyone wanted to get the straight scoop on which cover crops to use and when.

Midwest Cover Crops Council

Links to publications about for specific croips. The cover crop decision making tool helps Midwest growers find the most profitable cover crop species. It can also give you some ideas in the garden.

Cover Crop in Organic Systems, Western States Implementation Guide

Written specifically as a guide for Western states farmers to comply with soil conservation practices, this guide provides quite a bit of specific and practical information. Available for free download from the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.

Northwest Organic Fertilizer and Cover Crop Calculator

Calibrated from research trials in the Northwest, this calculator is for those who want to take the extra step and figure out exactly how much nitrogen fertilizer a given cover crop or green manure can contribute in a given year.

The University of California Cover Crop Database

Compiled by UC Davis Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, the database provided one-click cultivation information for the variety of cover crops useful in California and other western states.

Comprehensive Guides

Managing Cover Crops Profitably, 3rd edition

Want to know everything about growing cover crops in the garden or on the farm. Written specifically for market gardeners, this is the go-to resource covering the breadth of cover crop choices and techniques. Available for free download on the Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Website. 

NRCS Cover Crop Guide

The USDA’s page for cover crop resources links to USDA fact sheets for commonly used cover crop species.

Cover Crops and No-Till

No-till vegetables: harnessing the power of cover crops

Managed by University of Maryland researchers, one of the few resources available to dig into the research specific to cover crops in no-till systems.

Online Resources for Cover Crops and Green Manures
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