I have heard a lot of discussion at the Orchard Garden meetings and workshops about “cover crops”. For those who don’t know, a cover crop is planted after another crop is harvested. The purpose is to enhance the soil quality and add organic matter to it. The cover crop is not planted to be consumed but merely to help cover the ground and help the soil become healthier so that future crops can be planted again in that space. Cover crops are sometimes just planted in between growing seasons, but can be left to grow for a whole year too. I guess it depends on how badly you need the space! If you can wait, it’s better for the soil to leave the cover crop growing. I learned yesterday that it is especially important to educate people about cover crops when it comes to school gardens. Often people will think the garden is “dead” or “ruined” because they don’t understand what is happening between growing seasons. If teachers with school gardens explain to other staff and students why gardens have cover crops this may enhance the connection they feel with the garden when it is not a growing season. I have learned the garden is alive every day of the year! There is always something going on!