Green manure

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MalcW

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Green manure
« on: August 22, 2013, 10:01 »
Hi all.

Our newly acquired plot has now been largely dug over, and as many weeds, grass, and roots as possible removed. I was thinking of growing some green manure, probably Phacelia, to keep the weeds down for now, digging it in later before planting. As a total novice any advice as to whether or not this is a good idea, and if not what I should be doing instead, would be most welcome.

Many thanks

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mumofstig

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Re: Green manure
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2013, 10:13 »
Lesley x
I'm not good, I'm not bad - I'm just me, and sometimes I have to apologise for that ;)

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goodtogrow

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Re: Green manure
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2013, 16:58 »
Just an observation based on having taken on a few neglected plots in the past.

I believe that your priority is the weed seed bank.  In Autumn a new surge in weed growth.

I have not had success in supressing weed growth with green manures.  Spacing In-the-row and Between-the-row
allows plenty of scope for weeds.  Their re-seeding is as sure as the sun gets up in the morning, unless you go through and hand weed.

That's assuming you get a good 'take' of green manure after seeding - which is not a foregone conclusion.

Their value - nutritional, structural and ideological is, IMO, IMO, dubious, especially in the short-term, and if you consider the effort that goes into them, and what you get out of them, it's a no-brainer, IMO! not to go there.

Farmers have few other options, on their scale, from a practical point of view.  We can cover with mulch, including microporous sheeting, as well as spreading muck.  What about in-situ composting with all the waste you've dug out?  Line it out and heap it up  a metre wide and cover with microporous sheeting???  It's a plan, and it could work.

Best wishes

Tom

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mumofstig

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Re: Green manure
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2013, 18:14 »
Quote
Their value - nutritional, structural and ideological is, IMO, IMO, dubious, especially in the short-term, and if you consider the effort that goes into them, and what you get out of them, it's a no-brainer, IMO! not to go there.

I find that Autumn sown phacelia is killed by frosts and by Spring, apart from a few strawy bits to rake off, there is nothing left on the surface to dig in - cos the worms have done it for you  :)
It leaves the soil very fibrous from the roots - easy peasy - no great effort involved at all  ;)

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goodtogrow

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Re: Green manure
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2013, 19:12 »
Accept your point, mum, that some have virtues others don't, but it's still difficult to quantify the gain, and conclude that it's 'worth it'.  But I also concede that it's better than doing nothing, inasmuch as there is a gain, if it fits the circumstances, but I wonder if it does in the op's case.

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seaside

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Re: Green manure
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2013, 19:19 »
Their value - nutritional, structural and ideological is, IMO, IMO, dubious, especially in the short-term, and if you consider the effort that goes into them, and what you get out of them, it's a no-brainer, IMO! not to go there

Is it ?  That's not my experience. Quite the opposite :)
I shall be green manuring this year with tares, peas and red clover, and a couple of beds with horse manure.
My reasoning is not weed suppression though, and if you're happy with your initial dig and weed clearance, don't worry too much about weeds during the Winter. Fibre and soil health, along with a nitrogen fix is my reasoning, although one has to make sure the crop is cut and dug in at the right time.
I have steered clear of Hungarian rye as it can be rather dispiriting to the morale, given it's appearance not dissimilar to couch grass, and it's far more work than other green manures. I haven't any experience with phacelia, so can't really comment on that choice.

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diospyros

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Re: Green manure
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2013, 19:27 »
I used to grow Corn Salad occasionally as a sort of green manure, mainly because it sets seed prolifically and I really like it as a salad!

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al78

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Re: Green manure
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2013, 21:22 »
I have steered clear of Hungarian rye as it can be rather dispiriting to the morale, given it's appearance not dissimilar to couch grass, and it's far more work than other green manures. I haven't any experience with phacelia, so can't really comment on that choice.

Have you considered trying Italian rye grass? I've heard it is easier to dig in than Hungarian grazing rye.



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