Cover Crops

Cultivating plant community

Why cover crops?

Cover crops enhance soil health and is an important part of most no-till systems. Moonhill utilizes cover-cropping methods throughout the year, and we take advantage of a diverse mix of plants to nourish and replenish heavily cultivated garden beds.

Cover crops are planted primarily to cover and protect the soil rather than for harvesting. Through the growth cycle they offer a myriad of benefits to the garden, contributing to soil health, pest management, weed suppression, and overall eco-system resilience.

Cover Crop Benefits:

  • Soil Health Improvement: Cover crops improve soil structure by adding organic matter. They promote soil fertility and beneficial microbial activity.
  • Natural Tillage: As cover crops grow, their roots penetrate deep into the soil, breaking up compacted layers and improving aeration and drainage.
  • Nutrient Cycling: Certain cover crops, such as legumes like clover and peas, are able to fix atmospheric nitrogen into the soil. Through a symbiotic relationship with nitrogen-fixing bacteria, these cover crops increase nitrogen availability, enriching the soil naturally reducing the need for fertiliser imports.
  • Erosion Control: Cover crops form a protective blanket over the soil, shielding it from the erosive forces of wind and water. Their dense foliage and extensive root systems help stabilize the soil, prevents erosion and reduces the loss of valuable topsoil.
  • Weed Suppression: As they shade the soil surface and outcompete weeds for sunlight, water, and nutrients, cover crops act as a natural weed control, reducing the need for herbicides or manual labour.
  • Pest Management: Some cover crops, such as mustard and marigold, release compounds that repel or suppress certain pests and pathogens. Reducing the pest pressure in the garden leads to healthier plants and higher yields.
  • Biodiversity Enhancement: Cover crops provide habitat and food sources for beneficial insects, birds, and soil organisms. The diverse root systems of cover crops create microhabitats for soil-dwelling organisms, enhancing ecosystem resilience and promoting biological balance.
  • Season Extension and Crop Rotation: Cover crops can be strategically planted during fallow periods or between main crops to extend the growing season and maintain soil cover year-round. Additionally, cover cropping helps break pest and disease cycles by interrupting the continuous production of host plants.
  • Water Management: Cover crops improve water infiltration and retention in the soil, reducing runoff and soil erosion during heavy rainfall events. Their dense root systems also help mitigate drought stress by accessing moisture deeper in the soil profile.
Buckwheat cover crop in bed destined for kale
Buckwheat cover crop in bed destined for kale

The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life. ― Wendell Berry, The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture


Cover cropping is a valuable practice in gardening that contributes to soil health, pest management, weed suppression, and overall sustainability. By incorporating cover crops into garden rotations and management strategies, gardeners can create healthier, more resilient ecosystems that produce abundant harvests while minimizing environmental impact.

Most Popular



Crimson Clover

Daikon Radish

Red Clover


Winter Rye

Winter Pea

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Read more about individual cover crops

cover crops