Your soil is the foundation of your garden, and keeping it healthy and rich will lead to healthier plants that take a lot less work. One of the easiest ways to enrich your soil is by using cover crops. Cover crops reduce soil erosion, add nutrients, and protect your garden from the invasion of weeds during times when that area isn’t being used. When trying to choose the right cover crop for your garden, White Dutch Clover is a versatile, easy-to-grow crop that has a lot to offer.
Benefits of White Dutch Clover as a Cover Crop
White Dutch clover is a low-growing, perennial legume that’s a popular choice because it is very compatible with grass lawns, blending into the greenery. It’s also well-suited to raised beds and garden paths. It has a number of benefits that make it an excellent choice for any gardener:
- Nitrogen fixation: All legumes fix nitrogen from the air and “fix it” into the soil - converting it into a usable form that plants can access through their root system.
- Ease of growing: White Dutch clover is a hardy plant that can grow in a variety of soil types and conditions, and requires very little care or upkeep after being planted.
- Fast growing: Germination takes only about a week, and the plants establish very quickly.
- Durability: Clover is fairly resistant to pests and diseases. It can withstand foot traffic and dog urine, too!
- Year-round protection: Although it’s best to sow in spring or fall, White Dutch Clover can be grown any time of year, thanks to its tolerance to both heat and cold.
- Weed suppression: Clover covers the soil quickly, forming a dense mat that suppresses weeds while it is protecting and enriching the soil.
- Prevents soil erosion: Those dense roots hold soil in place and keep it from washing or blowing away.
- Pollinator-friendly: Bees especially love clover, but other beneficial pollinators will also visit these nectar-rich flowers.
How to plant clover as a cover crop
Growing White Dutch Clover in your garden is very easy. Simply sprinkle the seeds directly into your raised beds or garden paths, making sure to keep the soil moist until the plants are established. Once they are growing well, you can mow or trim the plants periodically to keep them at a manageable height. And if you decide you no longer need the cover crop, simply till it into the soil to add organic matter and nutrients.