Compost crops are easy to grow,

keep soil from washing away, prevent weeds & feed your soil. 

They add to both the fertility and the tilth (texture) of your soil. 

Grains are often used as cover crops because of their big, soil-holding root systems, their fast growth in cool weather, and the abundant carbon in their straw. Their roots sequester huge amounts of carbon in the soil and add greatly to its fertility. We have included appropriate grains among the cover crop listings.

There are compost crops to suit all soil conditions and all times of the year. 

For advice about overwintering, planting times, and adaptation to conditions in your local area, try talking with your neighbors, your state university ag department, or your state’s university cooperative extension service (county agent). To help choose, see our chart, p 40.

Areas shown are for broadcasting by the following method:, thoroughly mix the packet of seed with a 2 quarts of fine soil or sand. broadcast carefully , taking care to keep the amount even over the whole plot.

Popular This Season:

Agricultural Mustard

Excellent cover crop often used in orchards and vineyards. Suppresses weeds, nematodes, and soil diseases, cycles nutrients, increases tilth. Also a high pro...
  • Seeds per packet: 4100
  • Days to maturity: 30-90
  • Planting depth: Barely cover

Agricultural Mustard, one pound

Excellent cover crop often used in orchards and vineyards. Suppresses weeds, nematodes, and soil diseases, cycles nutrients, increases tilth. Also a high pro...
  • Days to maturity: 30-90
  • Planting depth: Barely cover
  • Germination days: 3-7
Cph 7060phacelia

Bee's Friend, Phacelia tanacetifolia

Annual. Prime beneficial-insect plant. Lavender-blue, fragrant flowers are loved by people too. A quick-growing plant which makes a fine, feathery but dense ...
  • Square foot coverage: 200
  • Seeds per packet: 1250
  • Germination days: 15-20
Cbi 6950trefoil

Birdsfoot Trefoil

Low-growing (mat-forming) perennial legume that is extremely tough and drought-resistant. Excellent fodder, holds and covers soils. Bright yellow-and-red, ve...
  • Seeds per packet: 10000
  • Square foot coverage: 800
  • Germination days: 14-28


Similar to Artichoke in looks and taste, but grown for its fleshy young leaf ribs instead of the flower buds. A good alternative for gardeners in colder clim...
  • Days to maturity: 100-150
  • Spacing: 24-36
  • Germination days: 10-20


A beautiful nitrogen-fixing plant, excellent as winter cover, for opening heavy soils and forage for animals. Prefers warmth but germinates in cooler soils a...
  • Seeds per packet: 1500
  • Planting depth: 1.5-3
  • When to plant: Winter
Raddish fodder

Fodder Radish

Extremely valuable compost crop with very deep tap root that brings up nutrients from the subsoil and breaks up clay. Produces a great bulk of material. Edib...
  • Square foot coverage: 220
  • Planting depth: 1/2"
  • Seeds per packet: 2500
Clu 7085 lupin


Bluebonnet. Beautiful blue annual wildflower that fixes nitrogen and tolerates poor, rocky soil. Fall-planted in zone 7 and above. Best mixed with poppies, p...
  • Seeds per packet: 1300
  • Germination days: 15-20
  • Days to maturity: 70-182
Cco 7020

Red Ripper Cowpea

Adaptable, drought-tolerant, and productive Competes well with summer weeds, even Bermuda grass. Fast to shell (that's the "ripper" part). High-yie...
  • Seeds per packet: 130
  • Days to maturity: 63-84
  • Square foot coverage: 100
Melilotus alba bgiu sweet+white+clover

White Blossom Sweetclover

Upright biennial often used for poor soils. Outstanding bee plant. Drought resistant and winter hardy through zone 4. Takes a wide range of soils and climate...
  • Square foot coverage: 220
  • Seeds per packet: 2500
  • Days to maturity: 70-182