If you have areas of your plot or garden that did not get planted for fall/winter, consider using a crop cover. Crop overs such as grasses, grains or even leaves, add nutrients to the soil while keeping it weed-free and is more aesthetically pleasing than bare soil. The crop cover is tilled into the soil in late winter or early spring to make a nutrient-rich bed for your spring plants. There is a wide variety of covers you can grow. Several legumes and grasses work well but be careful if planting ryegrass or Crimson clover as they tend to be invasive. Seeds for common annual crop covers are available at any garden center. Crop cover seeds are usually sown in the fall. Current temperatures may be too low already for planting; however, there is an alternative. Add a thick layer of leaves over your unplanted soil. A fine net placed over the leaves and held down with rocks or other heavy objects will prevent the leaves from just blowing away with the first winds.
Leaves are easier to chop up and till under than grasses and legumes. So there you have it—even if you didn’t plant or only partially planted this year, get out and get your soil healthy for spring by using an easy crop cover.