|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.
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.
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.