Cover Crops for U.S.

Here's The Old Farmer's Almanac guide to regional U.S. cover crops. ​Or, see our regional Canadian cover crops chart. 

What are cover crops?

They're legumes and grasses that provide fast-growing ground cover to amend and improve the soil. Here in New Hampshire, once we harvest and clean an area out, we often plant winter rye.

Why plant cover crops?

They're a great and increasingly popular way to prevent soil erosion, block weeds, and add nutrients back into the soil to give next spring's plantings a healthier start. If you ask your local CSA or farm stand, you'll find that many cover their empty fields with cover crops as an alternative to animal manure as fertilizer.

Cover crops may be used in any size of garden. Plant in the late summer or early fall (after harvest) in northern areas and any time in the South.

The following is a list of cover crops suitable for your region.

Click U.S. Cover Crops chart to view below chart.

Click here to see full chart.



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i planted red clover in the

i planted red clover in the spring... it did great, got much taller than i expected. Need to find out what to do with it now.... let it go through the winter or dig it in now?

Traditionally, red clover is

Traditionally, red clover is cut twice a year when it is at 50% bloom or greater. With this harvest system farmers end up cutting too late to obtain maximum forage quality. More recently, farmers have been cutting red clover three times during the summer to get a higher quality forage. However, with a three-cut system, farmers are concerned that they may give up yield and persistence.