The Q&A Archives: Winterizing raised beds

Question: I live in Denver, CO. What is the best way to winterize raised beds for winter? I've heard that planting Winter Rye is a good covercrop. Is that true for my area as well? Or is there something better?

Answer: Cover Crops usually are grown to prevent soil loss from wind and water erosion. You can use fast-growing cover Crops, such as winter wheat or annual rye, on fall-spaded gardens. A second, and probably more important reason to use cover Crops is to improve soil structure and increase organic matter. This is accomplished by tilling cover crops into the garden while they're green and growing. This technique, which is referred to as green manuring, speeds up the natural soil-building process and can reduce weeds. It also improves conditions for beneficial soil microorganisms and earthworms, and increases the soil's ability to hold water.

Common cover crops include annual ryegrass, Sudan grass, oats, buckwheat and legumes, such as peas, beans, alfalfa, clover and vetch. Whichever you choose, be sure to dig it into the soil before it flowers and sets seeds.

Best wishes with your garden!

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