Green Manure :
Green manure is the way forward if you have an allotment and want to grow your own vegetables.
Normally access to an allotment plot is a bit restricted for vehicles so trying to get your local farmer to dump a load of animal manure may be difficult. In my case for my plot, it would be very long winded , and hard work, to move a load from the nearest drop off point to my garden.
Green manure is a method of planting certain crops into the area of the garden that you have just cleared, letting it grow for the recommended time , cutting it then digging it into the ground .
This will prevent soil erosion, forming humus, improve its fertility, holding plant nutrients and helping soil organisms and earthworms.
After a few weeks this will have decomposed and enriched your garden soil.
There are several types of plants for this, some of which can be over-wintered and then dug in at springtime ready for the growing season ahead.
An added benefit to these close planted crops is that they also help reduce the weeds, so ideal for any area that you have just harvested.
Types of plants to use :-
(Available from most good seed suppliers)
Red Clover – is a deep rooted winter-hardy plant which is rich in nitrogen, making it idea for sandy soils, helping to improve fertility. Sow March-August. Dig in before flowering – early to late spring.
Crimson Clover – this is a good choice for smothering weeds, fixing nitrogen from the air and is a fast growing bulky green manure. It has deep roots that penetrate the soil and bulky furry foliage that once dug in helps to improve soil structure. Sow April – September
Field Beans – are an overwintering green manure and is generally winter hardy. It germinates well in colder weather from September-November. These are particularly good on heavy soils and their deep roots are not only able to penetrate & break up the soil but fix nitrogen too.
Mustard – Sow from March to September
Grazing Rye – Sow August to October
Winter Tares – Sow from September to November