Hardy Cover Crops – Growing Cover Crops In Zone 7 Gardens

Image by bozhdb

By Darcy Larum, Landscape Designer

Cover crops add nutrients to depleted soils, prevent weeds and control erosion. Which type of cover crop you use depends on which season it is and what your specific needs are in the area. Of course, the choice of cover crop also depends on your hardiness zone. In this article, we’ll discuss growing cover crops in zone 7.

Hardy Cover Crops

It’s late summer and you have reaped a bountiful harvest from your vegetable garden. Production of fruits and vegetables has drained the soil of its nutrients, so you decide to plant a fall cover crop to restore nutrients to the tired vegetable garden, essentially making it ready for the following spring season.

Cover crops are often used to renew used up beds. For this purpose, there are fall cover crops and spring cover crops. Hardy cover crops are also commonly used to control erosion in areas where spring rains tend to cause a muddy mess. In barren, sterile areas of your yard where nothing will seem to grow, a cover crop can be used to loosen up the soil and enrich it with nutrients.

There are a few main types of zone 7 cover crops that fulfill different needs for different locations. These different types of cover crops are legumes, clovers, cereals, mustards and vetch.

  • Legumes add nitrogen to the soil, prevent erosion and attract beneficial insects.
  • Clovers suppress weeds, prevent erosion, add nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, loosen up dry hardpan soil and also attract bees and other pollinators.
  • Cereals refer to plants like oats and barley. Cereal grains can pull nutrients up from deep within the soil. They also control weeds and erosion, and attract beneficial insects.
  • Mustards contain toxins that kill or suppress weeds.
  • Vetch adds nitrogen to the soil and controls weeds and erosion.

Another commonly used hardy cover crop is rapeseed, which in addition to controlling weeds and erosion, also controls harmful nematodes.

Growing Cover Crops in Zone 7 Gardens

Below are common cover crops for zone 7 and the seasons in which they are effectively used.

Fall and Winter Cover Crops

Alfalfa

Spring Cover Crops

  • Red Clover
  • Sweet Clover
  • Spring Oats
  • Rapeseed

Summer Cover Crops

Cover crop seeds can usually be purchased inexpensively in bulk at local feed stores. They are usually grown for short periods, then cut back and tilled in to the earth before they are allowed to go to seed.

More Information about Zone 7
<<PREVIOUS3 2 1 ... 123NEXT>>
Print This Article
This article was last updated on
Did you find this helpful?
Share it with your friends!

Additional Help & Information

Didn't find the answer to your question? Ask one of our friendly gardening experts.

Do you know anything about gardening? Help answer someone's gardening question.

Read more articles about Zone 7.

Search for more information

Use the search box below to find more gardening information on Gardening Know How: