I have 4 new raised beds I built this year. They were filled quite deep with what was supposed to be pretty good soil (turns out I was duped, just like you read often online!) - it's largely all topsoil and uncomposted manure. Regardless of this season - which I'm getting mild growth out of due to a lot of added compost, I am already making soil repair plans w/ cover crops.
I am looking for a crop or mix that will:
- Add Nitrogen to the soil and a lot of organic material
- Is an annual, not a perennial - I want no risk here =)
- Can be seeded in the beds sometime between September and November in Zone 6 (Ohio)
- Is easy to till back into bed in spring
I am thinking about Winter Rye - although I understand it does not provide nitrogen into the soil but likely meets my other needs. Also considering Alfalfa (although I can't find organic seeds yet), or Hairy Vetch. Some farms have cover crop mixes too, not sure if that's a good idea for raised beds where I can't really use machines to till back in?
There is a lot of scattered info online and most are geared toward serious farmers, so hopefully some folks here can lead me in the right direction!