Click in the link below to hear Erikas’ podcast on Green Manures (there is a short intro/advert from ExpatsRadio before the interview starts)….
This is a summary of my podcast interview….
Improving your soil is essential for reaping the benefits of Lunar Gardening; Green Manures are an excellent way to achieve a better result. So what are Green Manures?
Green manures are a crop grown specifically to benefit the soil by:
a) Adding nutrients and organic matter
b) Improving soil structure (through their root system)
c) Protecting or covering the topsoil (from drying out, rain washing away nutrients, weeds).
There are lots of varieties of Green Manure to choose from; Choose the right variety of green manure as they act in different ways (see chart below). Basically the foliage helps to suppress weeds, covers the soil and some of them attract bees and other beneficial insects, provided that you leave the Green Manure to flower. The roots improve soil structure and some of them fix nitrogen or the deep roots bring up important nutrients. Some Green Manures can stay over winter and some are fast growing during the summer.
Choose the right green manure to fit into crop rotation (see chart). Allow 4 weeks between digging in the Green Manure and sowing new seeds.
No-dig gardeners can cut the green Manure and use as Mulch.
Nitrogen Fixers belong to the legume family like Peas and Beans and include:
Alfalfa (sow April – Aug) Deep roots prefers alkaline soil
Field Beans (sow Sep – Nov) Good over wintering crop
Crimson clover (sow March- June or Aug) For over winter /good Bee plant
Clover (red,white) (sow April-Aug)
Lupins (sow March –June) deep roots prefers acid soil
Winter Tares (March – Sep) Winter hardy, prefers alkaline soil
Other Green Manures are:
Buckweat (sow May – Aug) Grows quickly and prolific
Fenugreek (sow March-Aug) Grows quickly (dig in after 10 weeks)
Mustard (sow March-Sep) Grows quickly, same as Brassica Family
Phacelia (sow March –Sep) Any crop rotation, good Bee plant inflower
Rye /Grazing (sow Aug-Nov) Overwintering and fits any crop rotation
Rye grass (sow Mar-Apr or Aug-Sep) Fits any crop rotation