Green Manure

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nickholl

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Green Manure
« on: August 09, 2016, 20:40 »
Evening all

I am considering using green manure over winter on my allotment, This will be my first winter so I want to try new things. Dose anybody use this? is it good? and how easy is it to use?

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Swing Swang

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Re: Green Manure
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2016, 07:50 »
Yes - in my opinion green manure is 'a good thing' - depending on what you choose: keeps down the weeds, makes nutrients locked in the subsoil available to new crops, reduces the need for brought in (and bought in) manure, adds nitrogen to the soil after a nitrogen-depleting crop, starts to break up a compacted 'pan', adds humus to the soil etc etc.

As an added benefit green manures often force you not to over-cultivate your land (e.g. if I follow new potatoes (March) with leeks (July) then Peas (February/March) then kale (June/July) that bit of ground has been cultivated with two crops per year without a break for a couple of years. If I then (say) put buckwheat once the kale is over this give the soil a break over the summer/autumn in time to put in a crop of overwintering alliums/garlic. I appreciate that this crop rotation is not necessarily 'perfect' from a text-book standpoint, but it is probably a realistic one for a lot of us.

You need to match the green manure to your soil and growing conditions.

What the uber-fans of green manures don't always tell you is just how hard some of them can be to dig in (e.g. Hungarian Grazing Rye), and that the weeds that do grow often get so tangled up with the manure that it's nearly impossible to pull them out when digging in.

A nice easy one to get you started is field beans when you do your winter digging - early November works well in my area - you can then hack them down (with a 'slasher - great fun) as they start to flower (at least a couple of times) and still get a late spring/early summer crop in - they're not too difficult to dig in either and if you leave them really late before digging in then judicious application of weedkiller (or careful digging/weeding) will address most of the thistle/bindweed problems for the rest of the year.

SS

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Potty Plotty Lotty

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Re: Green Manure
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2016, 13:10 »
I did it in my first year when I was ultra enthusiastic and through the years have gradually dropped it's use (over winter at least).

It's a good thing but I found it adds work in the spring which is when things start to get busy. I used Hungarian grazing rye which is a nightmare to dig in as already mentioned (and the soil needs to be dry enough to dig it in) and inhibits seed germination for a few weeks.

I then used Italian grazing rye which was easier to dig in but was losing enthusiasm by this point for the stuff. I have used field beans which are OK-I found better to put on the compost heap rather than dig in.

I've used mustard and clover before but this dies back over the winter. This year I've got phalecia as a summer one in some empty areas but noticed it's going to flower soon and need to ensure it doesn't go to seed which creates another job...

By all means try it and see, but perhaps don't sow it over a really big area in your first year or you might regret it in spring.

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nickholl

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Re: Green Manure
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2016, 17:38 »
Great advice many thanks  ;)



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