Preparing to live in a world that has been devastated by a natural disaster, war or an economic collapse means you need to be self-sustainable. Right now, you may have a good size survival garden and some livestock. You are probably feeling pretty good about your situation—and you should. You are almost there. If you have acres and acres of land available for your livestock to graze on, you probably aren’t too worried about feeding them when you can’t run to the feed store or to Farmer Joe down the road to buy hay. For those, who have limited land available, you need to grow food for your animals as well as your family.
One way you can keep food growing all year is by planting cover crops. Cover crops are a common practice for large farming operations because they help build up the soil. The roots are putting nutrients into the soil. This is an excellent way to help soil that isn’t quite ready for planting a full garden. Growing things alfalfa and clover will feed your livestock while preparing your soil for the following year’s garden. It is often referred to as green manure.
You will also help minimize weed growth over the fall and winter. This will save you a lot of time and trouble in the spring when you need to prepare your fields for planting. The soil will also be protected from hardening over the winter. Again, less work when it comes to spring planting.
What you grow is up to you. You will need to pick things that will survive the winter. If your goal is to feed livestock, stick with clover, which is very hardy. Throw out clover and alfalfa seeds in areas you will have your animals graze on as well. This will provide them with plenty of food the following year. Make sure you save seeds so you can start the process all over next fall.