Cover crop cocktails – a mixture of several species and plant types – provide different rooting patterns and varying plant architecture to add diversity to the system. The diversity is valuable for building microbial and physical soil function. Mixtures also provide good soil cover across a variety of conditions as the different cover crop types respond differently to varying soil and weather conditions.

As an example, a mixture of a cool-season grass (oats), a winter-annual grass (cereal rye), a winter-annual legume (hairy vetch) and a brassica (winter canola) would provide some quick cover in the fall, some nutrient scavenging, some nitrogen fixation and more cover in the spring, while helping the soil system. Cover crop cocktails should be used as much as possible to accomplish multiple objectives.