Green manure

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Greenfingered MoneySaving
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oligeooligeo Forumite
263 Posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Greenfingered MoneySaving
I'm after some advice on which green manure to use.

My allotment is quite big - 35m x 5m, when I took it over half of it had been used the previous year and the other half had just been covered with plastic. I managed to turn over all the previously used section in Feb/March and this is the area I have split up into manageable sized beds and planted out my crops.
I didn't get time to turn over the covered bit in the winter, last week I pulled back half of the plastic as rain had been predicted for the first time in weeks. Today I tested a patch and it seems like I'll be able to turn it over without too much trouble. But I don't really need the growing space this year (first year of growing stuff, I've taken it pretty easy and only grown the basics) so I was thinking of turning it over and sowing green manure, to enrich the soil for planting next year.
Is there a green manure that can be sown in June? and be left until early spring of next year before digging in?
Thanks for your help
Sarah

Replies

  • alleycat`alleycat` Forumite
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    Something like crimson clover can be sown in august for over wintering but you'll need the right soil type for it.
    Doesn't like my clay soil very much.

    Field beans are good for over wintering but again they don't go in until about september.

    Fodder radish can go in now but it will die down over winter.

    Only other thing i can think of that might be suitable is some sort of tare but they are fussy about soil as well.
  • valk_scotvalk_scot Forumite
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    I use fenugreek in summer and crimson clover for overwintering. I didn't think either were that fussy about soil tbh but I've got the classic medium loam these days (14 years of hard work in that soil) so most things do grow,

    Phacelia is good too, as the flowers attract vast quantities of pollinating insects. It does seed a bit but it's easily weeded out if you find the seedlings. Or how about setting up a comfrey bed in a corner somewhere?

    The other thing you can do is grow a summer green manure crop then in autumn just slash it down, cover and leave it for the worms to dig for you. It will be ready to go by spring next year with minimal effort in that you'll just have to rake off any tough stems that haven't broken down and maybe rake over the surface.
    Val.
  • Phacelia is wonderful, especially if you have clay soil (although it will grow on anything).
  • alleycat`alleycat` Forumite
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    valk_scot wrote: »
    The other thing you can do is grow a summer green manure crop then in autumn just slash it down, cover and leave it for the worms to dig for you. It will be ready to go by spring next year with minimal effort in that you'll just have to rake off any tough stems that haven't broken down and maybe rake over the surface.

    This is what i did on my first lottie year. Worked out nicely for me.

    Might give Phacelia a try next year. Thanks for the tip.
  • kinkyjinkskinkyjinks Forumite
    852 Posts
    It might be worth looking at this site after you've planned what you're going to plant there next year as the majority of green manure plants belong to different families so can affect normal crop rotation. I'd try to plant something that would help what you sow next year.
    "Who’s that tripping over my bridge?" roared the Troll.
    "Oh, it’s only me, the littlest Billy-goat Gruff and I’m going off to the hills to make myself fat"
  • Another reason that I like phacelia ;) It causes no crop rotation issues, is good for breaking up clay soil, can be sown fairly late in the year, AND had pretty flowers.
  • oligeooligeo Forumite
    263 Posts
    Thanks to everyone for your replies.

    I found some info about phacelia that says that is very quick to re-seed, and recomends either digging in before in flowers, or cutting the flowers off. If I cut the flowers off can I leave the rest of the plant in the ground? If so how long til I dig it over? Or does it not matter?
    Sorry for more questions.
    Thanks again for your help

    Sarah
  • oligeooligeo Forumite
    263 Posts
    Also.... I've just discovered I have a comfrey bed at the top of my allotment, what do I do with comfrey?

    Thanks
    Sarah
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Forumite
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    I have comfrey and I have phacelia. Re the comfrey, you have to assume that it is a variety that will self seed all over the place so the priority is to cut the flower stems off and compost them. I cut comfrey leaves a couple of weeks ago and stuffed them into a net bag, which is hanging in my waterbutt making lovely food for my plants. Pop some on your compost heap for now and google for more tips

    Phacelia is lovely and grows to about 3 foot. The leaves are easy to recognise and it is easy to remove if needed. I have sown pinches here and there, by my beans and near my squashes so far. I`ll be using it as green manure when I seed over my second early potato patch

    I have used mustard and that was also very easy to handle, it should not be followed by brassicas.
  • with phacelia, you can cut the flowers off and then dig the rest in whenever you feel like it. florists actually use it in bouquets and stuff as it is so pretty.
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