Common vetch (Vicia sativa) is a nitrogen fixing leguminous plant and is often grown as green manure or livestock fodder. It can be sown in spring or as late as mid-autumn. It is a deep rooting and fast growing plant, it is hardy and can be an effective weed suppresser. It produces considerable biomass and fixes large amounts of nitrogen. It is very suitable in game cover or flower mixtures.
Winter vetch (Vicia villosa), also known as hairy vetch, is widely used by organic growers as a winter cover crop as it is both hardy and can fix atmospheric nitrogen. Disadvantages of winter vetch in conventional agriculture are related to its hard seeds and the tendency to shatter seed early in the season, leading to volunteers.