Look after your soil and it will repay you in kind – treat it to some Green Manure Seeds this Autumn.
Green Manure is a crop that is grown mainly to benefit the soil rather than for food or ornament. It does wonders for the health of the soil and subsequent plants – a natural way of feeding the soil. All you require is a packet seeds, a rake and a spade and then let the seeds fertilise, stabilise and add organic matter to the soil. It couldn’t be easier!
Green Manure benefits include:
Adds Organic Matter – once the foliage is dug into the soil it decomposes and adds valuable humus to the soil that can help retain nutrients & increase the water holding capacity of the soil. This organic matter also helps the soil to open up or bind together & improves the soils texture.
Improves soil structure – some roots are able to penetrate & open up hard soil but the roots can also help bind lighter soils together. The organic matter helps improve the structure of the soil.
Weed suppression – the dense leafy foliage of some green manures will shade out weeds & some Green Manures produce a chemical that inhibits seed germination.
Soil Protection – foliage acts as a living mulch that protects the soil surface from compaction & capping so surface water can either be held in the soil or can drain away at a steadier rate.
We offer over 20 different varieties of Green Manure Seeds, each one has different benefits – just choose the one that suits your soil type, the time you wish to sow and what you require most from your Green Manure.
Top 6 Green Manures to overwinter:
Forage Rye – deep roots that can penetrate clay & help retain nutrients that may have been washed out in the winter rains, excellent bulky foliage that suppresses weeds and provides great organic matter.
Field Beans – part of the legume family so good at fixing Nitrogen and making it available for the following crops, deep penetrative roots so good for clay soils and bulky foliage that adds valuable organic matter.
Winter Tares – part of the legume family so provides Nitrogen for the following crops, lots of bulky foliage so great for weed suppression and adding organic matter.
Red Clover – a legume that is one of the best for fixing Nitrogen in the soil, excellent ground cover that smothers weeds and lots of bulky foliage to add great organic matter.
Italian Rye – has extensive root system that dredges up minerals that could have been washed away in winter rains and helps bind the soil together. Forage Pea – has deep roots, fixes Nitrogen as part of the Legume family and good foliage levels that add organic matter.
Nature dislikes bare soil and will do anything to cover it up – with ‘weeds’ unfortunately, so why not give the earth a helping hand by sowing a quick growing summer Green Manure.
Green Manures are grown purely to benefit the soil rather than for food. Some green manures have bulky foliage that suppress weeds such as Mustard and some are thought to contain chemicals that inhibit weed seed germination like Buckwheat. The bulky foliage of some green manures add much needed humus to soil once it is dug in and others help to retain nutrients that may have leached out by heavy rainfall.
There is still time to sow some quick growing summer Green Manures on bare soil this summer and dig in before the autumn sown green manures are sown to overwinter. It’s best to keep the same crop rotation families, so peas & beans with legume Green Manures and Mustard with brassica’s but some like Buckwheat are not related to any family & so can be used anywhere in a crop rotation plan.