Catch crop is a fast-growing crop grown between two plantings of a main crop. It is predominately used to make green manure. Planting catch crop is very important as it enhances soil fertility by providing nitrogen and other minerals.
Benefits of using a catch crop:
- it facilitates the growth of microorganisms that prevent weeds from spreading
- it helps extract minerals from deeper layers of the soil
- it loosens the soil
- it prevents washing away nutrients from the soil
- it supplies soil with minerals, mainly nitrogen
There are three main types of catch crop:
- Winter catch crop - planted in autumn after harvesting the main crop; harvested in spring the following year. Winter aftercrop includes: canola, rye, etc.
- Stubble crop - planted in the second half of summer, just after harvesting the early main crop; harvested in autumn. Stubble crop includes: stubble turnip, field peas and yellow mustard.
- Intercrop - lanted in spring with the main crop – it remains in the soil until autumn of the same year, e.g. sardella sown with rye.