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A picture of a Vetch


Vicia villosa

Also known as

Hairy Vetch, Fodder, Winter Vetch , Fodder vetch

Hairy Vetch, Vicia villosa by Dawn Endico (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Full Sun
Easy care
Moderate watering


USDA zone


Minimum temperature

Expected size









  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has no fragrance

More images of Vetch

A photo of Vetch
A photo of Vetch
A photo of Vetch
A photo of Vetch
A photo of Vetch

Vetch Overview

Vetch is part of the legume family that can utilise the unusable Nitrogen in the air and combine it with the help of Rhizobium bacteria to plantfood. It is therefore often sown as a covercrop with the ability to enrich the soil for the following crop.

Common problems with Vetch

Generally problem free

    Vetch Companion Plants

    Organic gardeners often plant hairy vetch (a nitrogen-fixing legume) as a companion plant to tomatoes, as an alternative to rotating crops in small growing areas. When it is time to plant tomatoes in the spring, the hairy vetch is cut to the ground and the tomato seedlings are planted in holes dug through the matted residue and stubble. The vetch vegetation provides both nitrogen and an instant mulch that preserves moisture and keeps weeds from sprouting. Any plants with high nitrogen needs will benefit from this method.

    A photo of Tomato


    Solanum lycopersicum

    How to harvest Vetch

    Plough into the field while still green.

    How to propagate Vetch


    Sow seed at start of rainy season.


    Perennial species by division in the autumn.

    Special features of Vetch

    Crop rotation

    Great to use as cover crop as green manure and to add value to depleted soil.

    Other uses of Vetch

    Attracts butterflies

    Increase soil fertility

    Grown as a winter cover crop and in no-till farming, as it is both winter hardy and can fix as much as 200 lb/acre of atmospheric nitrogen.


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