Last week we removed all the sunflowers from our “mini-field” (which we sometimes refer to as our whimsy garden) and tilled the ground. We then planted a cover crop for the winter in hopes of improving the soil for the Butterfly Garden we are planning to plant there next spring. Last year we planted Crimson Clover in this spot, and it was a successful cover crop and a fun gardening experience. Although it was our first experience with cover crops, it really seemed to enrich the soil–the sunflowers we planted there loved being put into that field afterwards. This year we chose a different cover crop: Austrian Winter Peas, and we’ll see what happens. We watched the weather closely and planted the seeds just before this weekend’s major rain storm. Hopefully the rain will give them a good start.
As part of my own education on the subject, I found the following helpful links about cover crops and about Austrian Winter Peas: