Crops that are grown solely to provide soil cover or for the purposes of increasing soil fertility are referred to as cover crops or green manures. Due their ability to protect and enhance soils, cover crops are considered a fundamental aspect of any sustainable cropping system. The benefits of cover crops extend beyond soil health, however. More and more growers are realizing the pest management benefits of cover crops. This publication, updated in June 2009, is meant to serve as a practical guide to using cover crops in small- to moderate-size fresh market vegetable operations.
Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems
University of Wisconsin-Madison