Cover Crops Garden

Cover Crops /Garden Information — Staying Out of Overwhelm

I spent a few minutes on a forum today reading a post that I had previously overlooked.

The poster began with, “I’ve been reading up on cover crops and, frankly, the information is overwhelming and somewhat confusing. What I’ve found with gardening (I’m fairly new to it) is that there isn’t ONE right answer. ”

They went on to say they would have a good supply of oak leaves this year and had read “— that you can just layer the top of the garden with shredded leaves over the winter but that seems like it wouldn’t add any nitrogen nor improve the subsoil.”

A couple of long time posters on that forum answered. After reading what they had to say, I couldn’t help but wonder if the person asking the question wasn’t more into overwhelm after they read the answers than they were before they asked.

What They May Have Really Wanted to Know

It’s not that the information given in answer wasn’t good because it was. It just didn’t tell the poster the one thing I think they may have really wanted to know —- and that is:  you really can’t do anything wrong.  Organic matter is organic matter.

Don’t have to know the Scientific Details

Whether you do cover crops or leaves or some of each —- you’re gonna have great results.  Your soil is gonna love that organic matter. You don’t have to know the scientific reasons behind why it works —- you just have to do it.

What I Did and Do

For years, I couldn’t afford to buy seed for cover crops.  The only thing that went on top of my soil was garden waste, straw, and lots of leaves.  My garden was healthy and successful.

Do I use cover crops now?  You bet your boots.  I’m  thrilled to be able to plant them and they’re taking my garden to a different level with all their many benefits to my soil.

But will my garden fail without them?  Heck no it won’t!

Suggested Approach when you feel Overwhelmed

When you’re reading to learn and you start getting into overwhelm because they’re telling you all you have to do —- or this won’t work —- and that won’t work —- and when they start talking about Carbon to Nitrogen ratio of between 40 and 80 to 1 and allopathic effects of various crops and you don’t understand —- just dismiss that information for the moment.   Know that you don’t have to understand it now.  You’ll understand it in due time as you become more experienced.

Understanding all the Details is NOT a Requirement

Understanding how nature does it (although it’s nice) is not a requirement.  Nature will do all the complicated stuff for you. It’s set up that way — you can bank on it.

Final Thoughts

So if you can get some seed for cover crops —-do it. (I’d recommend buckwheat to start because it’s ultra easy and very beneficial.)

If all you have is leaves — pile those on your beds. Do the best you can do at the moment. Use what you’ve been given and don’t fret over it.

You’re gonna have a great garden next year!


Other Related Posts:

Hassle Free Organic Gardening

Gardening – Keep it Simple Because It is

Too Complicated? They May Not Know


Organic Gardening is easy, effective, efficient —- and it’s a lot healthier.


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  • Yes, yes, yes, Theresa!!! I’ve been put off by some of the rather snooty ‘experts’ on other forums, not to mention confused. Guess that’s why I’m here!

  • You need to write a book, Theresa! THIS IS what folks need to hear and it is exactly what is missing at the book stores as well. I ADORE Tending My Garden. With all of the books, videos, encyclopedias, and google searches I could get my hands on, THIS SITE is my #1 source and a benchmark to which all other sources are compared and measured. I love posts like this.

  • It is amazing Sandra — that some people learn a little scientific information and then make the wrong assumption that they know it all and that you can’t get along without what they know.

    I see it on various forums quite a bit.

    And Bearfoot Mama — I’m considering that book. TMG is almost 3 years old and I see that perhaps I fill a gap that is missing in all the other info out there. With the way things are in the world today — I think people need to know that they CAN garden without a lot of information. Nature is really user friendly and we can all learn as we go. Thanks for your encouragement and for sticking with TMG since the beginning.


  • Please help: I see in hour pictures that the blueberries are covered with a white nesh. I used a white mesh last year and cannot find it again this year. It was plastiv in a roll (I think) a 1/4 inch grid. Any suggestions. Please help.
    Thank you in advance

    ellie Cote

  • Ellie, I’m not sure what you mean by “hour pictures”. Maybe that was a typo?
    If you mean that you saw pictures of my blueberries covered with a white mesh, that was old fish netting that we got from a netting place no longer in business that sold to watermen. Don’t know where one would get that now.
    You might try searching the Farm Tech website. They have lots of netting for use in the garden.

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