Thursday, 10 November 2016

Autumn Allotment Jobs - Sowing Green Manure

Autumn Allotment Jobs - Sowing Green Manure
Autumn Allotment Jobs - Sowing Green Manure

Green Manures are grown to improve the soil on the allotment - rather than for edible crops.

They can be sown at any time of year on an empty growing bed, to occupy the space before sowing or planting at a later date. Particularly useful if you have cleared ground on a new allotment, but are not yet ready to use the space for crops.

But on an established plot - late Summer and Autumn are good times to consider Green Manures - after crops have been harvested.

They can help to improve soil quality in a number of ways:
  • Providing cover and holding the soil together to prevent winter rains washing out nutrients.
  • Keeping down weeds by crowding and shading them out.
  • In some cases - particularly beans - fixing nitrogen into the ground.
  • Providing organic material for the compost bin when eventually cut down - or ......
  • ...... providing organic material to be dug in to improve soil structure.

Mustard Green Manure
In August I dug the last of my potatoes.

I sowed Mustard Green Manure into the beds.

This germinated quickly and provided good ground cover,

It won't last through the Winter, but I will cut it down for compost when it starts to die back.

Green Manure - Field Beans
In October I started clearing other beds of the last crops.

I then spread my finished compost onto the growing beds. On top of that I've sown Winter Field Beans.

The first time I've grown these on the plot - they can be sown from September through to the end of November and should provide ground cover through the Winter.

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