2. Cover Cropping
Crop roots help to prevent topsoil erosion, capture more CO2 from the atmosphere, and return nutrients to the soil. They can also prevent run-off of fertilizer, helping to hold more nutrients in the ground for later use.
One of the best things about cover cropping is that, because you’ve got a useful crop using (and returning) nutrients to the soil, this vastly reduces the prevalence of weeds on your cropland.
Because weeds don’t have space to grow and leech beneficial nutrients from the soil, and because the land isn’t left bare, you can retain your nutrient-rich topsoil ready for your primary crop in the following season.
Not only that, but certain cover crops can actually improve the crop quality and yield of your primary crop. For example, legumes capture nitrogen from the atmosphere and transfer it to the soil, which is a brilliant way to improve the crop of nitrogen-loving plants like lettuce, sweetcorn, bok choy, and kale.
Many regenerative farmers, and particularly those that keep animals, use crops like clover, millet, or oat as a cover crop as part of their managed grazing system.