Updated: Jun 14, 2021
As a cover crop and green manure, few plants are a match for the heavyweight champion Vetch. It can spread rapidly and readily, so never sow it unless you plan on having vetch around a while. It's a self seeding annual and actually considered "invasive" in many places.
The true magic of vetch is the amazing amount of nitrogen that it can fix into your soil. It is a legume crop, and therefore it absorbs nitrogen in the air and stores it in rhizomes in its roots. When the plant dies, the nitrogen is left in the soil, enriching it for the next growing season.
Vetch works best in no-till organic farming, and is quickly gaining popularity as a fodder, forage, and cover crop. It is a perfect companion for tomatoes, peppers, corn, and other hungry vegetables. The foliage often becomes mulch for these plants in late summer.
Vetch typically grows wild in places all over the world. So it's possible you already have some growing! They come in a ton of shapes and sizes, and it is impossible to show them all here. However, if you find that you have wild vetch, be sure to propagate it!
Above all else, the blooms are just plain beautiful! Certain to attract pollinators to your garden, they make more sense to grow than to eradicate.
Vetch are hardy to zone 3, and happily grow on hillsides and in poor soil. It is apparent that the vetch is an ideal plant for the mountain homestead.
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