catch crop

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catch crop, any quick-growing crop sown between seasons of regular planting to make use of temporary idleness of the soil or to compensate for the failure of a main crop. It may be such rapid-maturing vegetables as radishes, onions grown from sets, or spinach (planted between rows of slower growing crops); quick-growing crops such as rye, millet, or buckwheat; or an annual legume, such as soybean, which is valuable as fodder or, when plowed under, increases the soil's fertility. See cover crop.