Gardeners working a plot at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church on the near east side are part of a group of urban growers who plant cover crops in the off season, a conservation technique more common to rural agricultural settings. The garden produces thousands of pounds of food for local food pantries.
Planting cover crops is a practice often associated with large-scale farming, whereby producers plant cover crops between their corn and soybean rotations to keep nutrients and soil from running off. But the same benefits seen on farmland can be achieved in an urban setting, said Kevin Allison, urban soil health specialist at the Marion County Soil and Water Conservation District.
"They’re using cover crops to suppress weeds and to make the soil more biologically active," said Allison, "and just breaking up that (soil) compaction that is standard in the urban environment."
The conservation district has been working since 2015 to help anyone from amateur gardeners to […]