What is Green Manure used for?
After a busy growing season and spent plants are cleared, we are left with bare soil. There are a number of problems which can then develop. Soil erosion can occur, leaching, the washing away of nutrients due to rains takes place. The more pernicious weeds will colonise and fill the void.
The sowing of green manure will negate all these issues as well as providing cover for soil particles and soil structure, controlling movement of air and water through soil and suppressing weeds. Once the spring comes, Green Manures are dug into the soil adding more structure and nutrients. Green manure both protects and enhances soil health.
How to grow Green Manure from seed?
Once a crop has served its purpose and is cleared from the soil, it’s time to prepare for a Green Manure sowing.
- Fork the ground lightly, followed by raking and consolidating the ground, creating a good tilth and seedbed
- Take a decent handful of green manure seed mix and begin broadcast sowing, this means moving from left to right at the far end of your seedbed and gently scatter the seed as evenly as possible over the seedbed moving backwards
- Keep a check on how even you are broadcasting, mix the green manure seed with Horticultural sand.
When to sow green manure seeds?
- Sow green manure seeds from August to October for winter protection of your soil
- Watering should not be necessary once the seed has germinated unless there is excessive dry conditions. Water the seedbed thoroughly using a lance with a fine rose head
- Come the spring the Green manure can be forked into the soil. Preferably before it produces too much flower
Green manures have the added benefit of being great for wildlife and pollinators. They have great environmental benefits too, and they remove the need for artificial fertilisers
For organic gardeners green manure is a must. Retaining moisture, stopping erosion and nutrient loss. Reduces the need to dig.
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