Also known as cover crops, green manure is grown specifically to help improve soil fertility, nutrient levels and organic matter, whilst also suppressing weeds.
You can plant cover crops into beds that would otherwise be left empty through the winter. Phacelia, Vetch seeds, Mustard seeds and Clover are all types of cover crop. Here’s 5 ways that growing these and other green manure seeds can help your garden and soil:
Organic matter – growing lots of leafy green manure vegetation helps to increase the organic matter in the soil. It’s better than horse manure if you are not really sure where it’s come from and what’s in it.
Nitrogen – cover crops can either add nitrogen to the soil or it can lift the nitrogen closer to the surface, thereby super boosting crop growth.
Leaching – using green manure over winter prevents the rain from washing the soil’s nutrients away.
Pests – cover crops provide shelter for frogs, beetles and other natural predators that feed on pests such as snails and slugs. Also helps deter some of the crop pests, for example using a low growing green manure to deter carrot fly or mustard to help combat wireworm in a potato crop.
Weeding – anything that reduces the need to weed has to be a good thing. Green manure does away with the need for artificial weed barriers, harmful chemicals, and dodgy horse manure!
We’re teaming up with sowseeds.co.uk and encourage you to take a look at some of their blogs and advice sheets to learn more about green manure. Happy reading and growing!