Cover crops are very independent plants and don't require much care apart from watering. Since you'll be mostly growing them in winter, they don't usually require watering. Keeping the soil moist during germination is important though.

If you find that birds are eating the seeds you've planted, trying covering the beds with row covers.

Generally you will incorporate the plants into the soil before they flower.

Water Needs


Most of these crops are not particularly drought tolerant and will need regular watering in dry climates (especially when germinating and getting established). However they are mostly grown during the winter when the soil is fairly moist, so don't usually require much irrigation.

Fertilizer Needs


You do not need to fertilize cover crop in established gardens, as there will be plenty of nutrients in the garden to meet their needs. Since you will be incorporating them back in to the soil, growing them doesn't remove any nutrients from the soil.

The leguminous cover crops also fix nitrogen and eventually add it to the soil.

Watering, regularly

Water, 0.5 inch(es), regularly, 2 times a week

Most cover crops need moist soil for best growth. This is normally supplied by mother nature, but if it isn't you will have to irrigate.

Protecting, after sowing

Netting, after sowing, 1 time

In many areas birds will look upon your newly sown cover crop as a fall treat. They will actively search for the seed in the soil and eat the newly emerging shoots. In this case you may have to net the beds or use row covers.

Watering, after sowing

Water, 1 inch(es), after sowing, 5 times a week

It is essential that the germinating seeds receive adequate water, so if it doesn't rain you will have to irrigate regularly.