What are these two doing? They are helping breakdown my cover crop. Each fall, in order to rejuvenate and restore the nutrients in my garden soil, I plant a cover crop. It’s full of good nitrogen – fixing plants such as vetch, clover, and faba beans. I plant this in late October – early November to give the plants time to generate before the frost comes. (In the midwest, I’d probably do this in late September – early October). Then I leave the crop in all winter long to do its work. In preparation for spring planting (usually late February – March), I chop up the crop with my garden shovel and cover to speed decomposition. I want to chop up the crop before the plants flower and go to seed. (In the midwest, I’d either do this as soon as the snow melts or wait until I see the crocus bulbs poking through the soil.) Some years, as in this photo, I put down newspaper and burlap bags. Other years, I use cardboard. I should be ready for my mid to late Spring planting in 2-3 weeks. For more information on cover crops, go to Organic Gardening.