Compost & Cover Crops

Compost crops are easy to grow, keep soil from washing away, prevent weeds & feed your soil. They add to both the fertility and the tilth (texture) of your soil.

Agricultural Mustard

BOTANICAL NAME: Brassica sp.

Excellent cover crop often used in orchards and vineyards. Suppresses weeds, nematodes, and soil diseases, cycles nutrients, increases tilth. Also a high protein forage.

Sow any time during the growing season. It can be harvested at any stage, but preferably just after flowering. Plant mid-August for winter cover. If broadcasting, mix seed well with 2 cups of sand or fine soil for more even coverage. Masses of yellow flowers in very early spring.

Mix with soil for most even broadcast coverage. Broadcast seed fairly thickly any time during the growing season, mid-August for winter cover. Matures 5-6 weeks. It can be turned in or harvest at any stage, but preferably just after flowering starts. If flowering is advanced, some seed may have matured and sprout next year.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Bee Friendly

15 Reasons to Grow Mustard

Austrian Winter Field Pea, Organic

BOTANICAL NAME: Pisum sativum

A cold hardy field-pea. Sow in fall for winter growth (and to protect soil from erosion) & turn them under, or harvest for the compost pile, in the spring. Does well on poor soil & will fix nitrogen in the soil. For best growth and nitrogen production inoculate the seed before planting. Does not need a lot of water or care. May self-seed. Can be used for cattle fodder. The peas can be used dried for soup but are not good for fresh eating. The shoots and leafy growing tips of the plants are popular for fresh eating, and make fine winter salad fare.

Fava Bean, Bell Bean

BOTANICAL NAME: Vicia faba

Grows 3-6 feet, produces much organic matter for composting, and fixes nitrogen if inoculant is used. Strong root system brings up nutrients and conditions soil. Plant in fall. Grows 3-6 feet, produces much organic matter for composting, and fixes nitrogen if inoculant is used. Strong root system brings up nutrients and conditions soil. Plant in fall. Matures March to May, attracting many beneficial insects

Sow favas from October in the North to as late as mid-November in California. The best stands are obtained by planting 3 inches deep, but can also be broadcast if raked in. Be sure to use our Garden Combo inoculant for best results. Winter hardy to USDA Zone 8. Matures in 11-26 weeks depending on severity of the winter. If growing for beans, harvest period is 4-8 weeks.

These favas are a cool-season crop overwintering in zone 8 and warmer. Their roots improve soil texture and put nitrogen into the soil ( use garden combo inoculant). They can provide a trellis for other compost crops like vetch or field peas to grow up. In zones where they winterkill, favas may be sown earlier so that by the time they freeze out, they have made some nitrogen, biomass, and a scaffold for hardy climbers like vetch. While this is primarily a compost crop, these beans also make good eating and are so used in the many part of the world.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Bee Friendly

Fava Cooking Inspiration