March 19, 2007 at 1:15 am #239601
Vegie gardeners might be interested to know that now is a good time to start your green manure crops. Especially those of us in the south. 😉
Any beds that have finished their summer crops and aren’t required for winter growing should be cleared and prepared in whichever way you choose to prepare your beds. Digging or hoeing lightly breaks the surface of very dry soil but you may choose to just move the mulch layer back and sow by raking the seed into the soil.
Additional nutrients in the form of Blood and Bone or your choice of organic nutrients will help the growth of your chosen plants. In the long run this also improves your soil.
This year I have bought Rye, Barley, Oats and Fenugreek seed from Eden Seeds Select Organic Range.
I still have some Dalkeith Clover (from the Diggers clever clover kit) and some Lucerne ‘Sequel’ from Green Harvest left over from last year and as they are still within their use-by dates I’ll throw them in as well.
Another organic food gardener at Garden Club gave me a 2 litre tub of green manure mixture that she uses the other day as a swap for a Jostaberry plant I gave her earlier.
She uses Lupins in her mix. I haven’t had much luck growing them here in the past because my soil was very alkaline but I’ll give them another try this year.
I bought the small packets of seed because I was only going to Green Manure two beds but now I have extra seed I’ll grow some in other areas around the backyard as well. It all helps improve the soil.
As these plants grow I shall water them (but only if I have to) and foliar feed them to keep them growing strongly. :tup:
When they are about knee high or just starting to flower I will ask Doc to slash them and depending on the state of the soil in the beds either dig the debris in or leave it to mulch the surface.
It will also depend on what is going to be planted in the beds next as to how much the soil is disturbed.
My Moon Planting Garden Guide suggests that next Saturday 24th March should be a good day to plant Green Manure crops. Now all I have to do is clear the beds and get them ready before then.
Today there is lovely steady rain falling outside so this should make the soil easier to work later in the week.March 19, 2007 at 7:31 am #295121
scarecrow, if the soil was pretty dead, would you dig the manure in?March 19, 2007 at 8:17 am #295122
If you are intending to plant into the soil I would (that is I’d get Doc to). 😉
If the soil is really that dead you should dig plenty of old manure and compost into it first and plant your green manure crop into the soil after it has settled (and been rained on if you get rain). I’d plant several lots of green maure to really help the soil and put some ‘life‘ back into it.
An alternative would be a No-Dig garden where you layer up straw and other materials and plant into pockets of compost. As this breaks down it will enrich the soil with the help of earthworms etc.
Again this works better in wetter areas. It takes too long to break down here and also attracts earwigs and snail/slugs who love to live in mulchy areas.March 19, 2007 at 8:56 am #295123
I planted out one of my beds with green manures (Oats, Lupins Fenugreek and Wooly Pod Vetch) after giving it a solid dose of gypsum a couple of days ago.
When/if it all comes up I will more than likely give a short spiel on my blog…March 19, 2007 at 9:26 am #295124
they’re flower beds next to the house and only get rained on when we get freaky ‘coming from the wrong direction’ storms 😐 portulacas and impatients grow well in them, but i figure all soil deserves to be healthy. 😀 i’ll get some green manure for the vege bed, which i can dig in cos it’s a whopping 2 x 1m 😆 it’s a rental, so not wanting to spend too much 😀March 19, 2007 at 11:04 am #295125SonyaMember
We have always turned in our green manure crops, but just recently, I heard that Jackie French never turns hers in and the other night at our permaculture meeting, Frances Michaels, who runs Green Harvest seed company and is both a horticulturist and a permaculturist advocates not turning it in. Up here in the subtropics anyway. Let it lay on the top as a mulch and let the roots break down in the soil. Her reasoning was that the top is mainly nitrogen, not much organic matter and that turning the soil destroys the kilometres of fungi below the surface.
So we have a couple of crops ready to be cut, we will leave the next lot on the top and see how it goes. I personally hate turning the soil and disturbing all the microbes, so I’ll be happy if this works.
SonyaMarch 19, 2007 at 11:08 am #295126
I only slashed, and did not dig in half my oats, and slashed and dug the other half last year, as an experiment. Both halves seemed to work well, but not digging appeals to my lazy side …YMMVMarch 19, 2007 at 11:59 am #295127osakasuzMember
Would green manure crops work to break up clay soils?March 19, 2007 at 12:00 pm #295128
i’ll remember that sonya – i’m in gympie 🙂March 19, 2007 at 10:10 pm #295129
Would green manure crops work to break up clay soils?
The small areas I have done appears to be doing that. I gypsum at the same time too. You need things with nice deep roots that can drive through clay to do it but.
I have also experimented with a weed that we call “Marshmallow weed” around here, which has an amazing tap root on it, as a clay breaking green manure. Just chop and drop. It seems to work well, but you don’t get a lot of choice on where it grows 😉March 19, 2007 at 10:31 pm #295130SonyaMember
Fenugreek is suitable for breaking up clay soils. Lupins have long tap roots that aerate the soil, rapeseed also breaks up clay soils, but it’s a brassica so don’t follow it with another brassica crop. Brassica green manures are bio fumigants and break disease and nematodes cycles. All of these are cool season green manures, so they can go in now.
I got this info from the Green Harvest catalogue.
SonyaMarch 19, 2007 at 10:53 pm #295131
rapeseed also breaks up clay soils
That’s Canola yeah? If it is beware of the pong, its a bit stinky…March 20, 2007 at 1:11 am #295132
I have also experimented with a weed that we call “Marshmallow weed” around here, which has an amazing tap root on it, as a clay breaking green manure. Just chop and drop. It seems to work well, but you don’t get a lot of choice on where it grows 😉
Kimble watch out for that weed… (How do you get it to grow where you want it? And if ‘a weed is a plant you haven’t found a use for’ does that mean it isn’t really a weed?? )
It’s our worst weed here mainly in the driveway where we don’t really want the soil broken up! 😉
If you don’t destroy them young they are really hard to remove when they get big and the ground dries out! :noapprove: (and the chooks only eat them when they are really little weeds)
Thanks for all the info for northern people. I was hoping someone would add some tips like that! :tup:
BTW Doc likes the idea of No-Dig Green manure too!! 😆
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