Italian Ryegrass is an annual/biennial grass that is winter hardy and can be grown for up to 2 years but it will require cutting during the growing season to encourage new growth and prevent it going to seed in the 2nd year. It is good at suppressing weeds and although not as bulky as Forage Rye it is easier to dig in after winter. It fits into any bed in a crop rotation plan.
Italian Rye helps to protect the soil from erosion especially during winter and its extensive root system is adept at dredging up the minerals that may have been washed away during winter rains. Italian Rye is particularly good at lifting the nitrates in the soil and releasing them slowly (once dug in) to the following crop. It is often combined with Red Clover as clover is brilliant at collecting Nitrogen but when dug in it rapidly decomposes & quickly releases the nitrogen. This is great for nitrogen hungry crops like brasssicas that are planted straight after but by combining with Italian Rye the rate of release is slower even up to 6 months later. (A ratio of ¾ Italian Rye to ¼ Red Clover is recommended). Red Clover also has excellent ground cover & weed suppressing properties to help smother weeds. Note Red Clover is part of the Legume family for crop rotation purposes.
American research has also shown that in large-scale production a combination of Alfalfa & Italian Ryegrass increases the yield of Alfalfa. (2/3 Alfalfa to 1/3 Italian Rye).
Italian Ryegrass mixes well with other green manures just select ones appropriate to your soil type, length of time and plant family for crop rotation required and have a go at making up your own mix.
|When to Sow:||March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October.|
|Ideal Soil Type:
|How to Sow:
||Prepare the soil by roughly digging it over and removing any weeds. Lightly tread the soil, and then sow the seeds by broadcast sowing (i.e. scattering evenly) for good coverage. Rows can be sown but are not as good for weed suppression. Rake the soil and water well. In dry periods you may need to water until the green manure is established.|
|Care:||The green manure should be cut down before flowering when the stems are nice and soft as they decompose quicker, retain more beneficial nutrients and are easier to incorporate into the soil. They can be dug into the soil by turning over into the top 15cms or left on the top as a mulch, the worms will drag down the organic matter and help to aerate the soil.|
||10 grams per square metre.|
|Pack Weight / Area:|
When to Sow your Italian Ryegrass Green Manure Seeds
General Green Manure Seed Advice & Information
Follow the links below for further Green Manure information: