Beyond Rye: Summer & Winter Cover Crops


Workshop audio recording from the 2016 MOSES Organic Farming Conference.


Julie Grossman and Jennifer Blesh
Friday 1b

Rye is a powerhouse in terms of biomass production and winter survivability, but there must be more out there! This session will expand your cover crop options with an emphasis on legume species that can be used as both summer and winter covers. We’ll talk about the science of legume cover crop soil contributions while learning from hands-on activities how to estimate the benefits of legumes on soil fertility and organic matter.

Julie Grossman is a faculty member in the University of Minnesota Department of Horticultural Science specializing in soil fertility of organic cropping systems. Her work emphasizes improved management of plant-soil-microbe relationships in organic systems, especially the use of legumes to help provide nitrogen to horticultural crops.

Jennifer Blesh is an Assistant Professor in the Sustainable Food Systems Initiative and the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan. She is an ecologist and soil scientist, with particular interest in understanding relationships between farm management and environmental sustainability. Her current research projects focus on crop rotation diversity, legume cover crops, and soil carbon and nitrogen cycles in both the U.S. Midwest and in Brazil.