Green Manure: What is it and why use it?

Published on October 3rd 2018
If you have bare ground you could always try growing green manure as it's a good way to increase protection and soils fertility over winter. Green manure plants will soak up nutrients left by your summer plants and prevent the winter rains washing them away. In spring you can dig in the crop remnants, which again will increase soil nutrients and texture.

Which green manures can be tried at this time of year?

Grazing rye Secale cereale an annual crop that improves the soil structure, sow in August to November and incorporate into the ground by digging in spring.
Winter field bean Vicia faba a great legume which is extremely good for heavy soils. Sow from September to November.
Winter tares Vicia sativa a hardy legume that overwinters well. It's good for drawing nitrogen from heavy clay type soils. Sow throughout the year from March to early autumn and then incorporate by digging into the soil in early spring.
Mustard Sinapis alba is part of the brassica family so cannot be planted in an area that has previously grown brassicas as it can increase the buildup of clubroot and other related diseases.
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