Keeping soil covered with Living Mulch

Clare H is talking about growing Beetroot, Lettuce, Silverbeet, Spinach, Spring Onion from Hawke's Bay

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Garden in progress

I find there are multiple benefits to keeping the soil covered. It reduces moisture loss & caking of the soil surface, maintains soil biological activity right up to the surface & increases the diversity of plants & insects. I do use dry mulch material for this but mainly use living plants!

eg. In the photo is the last of my winter broccoli (due to come out now) with a mild type of endive that has been growing (& harvested multiple times) underneath. 

I fill up the spaces between rows or between large seedlings with a variety of plants, some will be short lived ‘catch crops’ like radish, lettuce, endive, beetroot, NZ spinach. I may plant herbs like basil, spring onions or bee friendly ones like calendula.  Or lupins & mustard as green manure/soil improvers to be cut down before they flower.