Tell me about cover crops, particularly as they would relate to a home garden. What can I plant to enrich/break up the soil? Do you know of a particularly low plant that wouldn't block out the sun from the other patches of my garden? I've read that buckwheat is a cover crop--is that realistic for my home garden or is that more like what would be planted on a farm?
Trying to research and learn and prepare for my first in-the-dirt garden!
I've just started using cover crops in the past couple years, so I'm not an expert by any stretch, but I picked up this compost crop mix: http://www.bountifulgardens.org/prodinfo.asp?number=MCO%2D6300 . It includes wheat, rye, vetch and fava. It didn't grow very tall in my garden - maybe two feet tall - so it shouldn't shade out your garden. They recommend planting it at the end of the season when you pull your primary crop, but my growing is so short, I just planted it as the primary crop in one bed. I cut it short a few times during the season, and left the the plant material in the bed as mulch. I cut it the final time at the end of the season very close, and it's all under the snow composting in place right now.
I've seen similar compost/cover crop mixes in other seed catalogs, too. They have slightly different plants, but I think the grain/vetch/legume mix is pretty standard.