If you are planning to plant a winter cover in your garden, now is the time to do so. In North Carolina and Piedmont, there are two types of winter cover crops: winter cover crops and winter hard cover crops. Choosing one over the other is a matter of patience – each of you will set a timetable for re-planting the edible foods.
Winter-dead cover crops are usually planted in late summer, grow throughout the fall, and are killed by freezing temperatures in winter. If you know that you will cut a little to plant early spring vegetables such as baked cinnamon, lettuce and radish, come in March, then the winter killer crop will be suitable.
Winter cover crops include rye and peas. Oats grow fast, form a thick mat, and peas are a nitrogen fixation. Both help to build soil biomass, replenish organic matter, and weed control. When frozen temperatures kill these crops, the dead plant material forms a protective, organic carpet on the surface, which has its own benefits.
Winter-dead cover crops The dead plant material can be used as a barrier for food crops in early spring. It also helps protect the soil from erosion and provides habitat for the removal of insects and pollen.
Forsyth Cooperative Extension recommends planting a winter crop until mid-August to allow the seeds to germinate and grow before the first frost. However, with the warmer climate lasting a little longer than usual, we have experienced long periods of growth over the past few years. If planted now, you can still see the benefits of planting a winter killer crop.