I am trying Green Manure for the first time this year.
Believe it or not, I sowed 'weeds' and grains.
That is exactly what Green Manure is!
But these plants are controlled and beneficial for the soil.
They deliver nitrogen and organic matter back into the soil by rotting down.
It does take a lot more time to add nitrogen to the soil compared to adding well rotted animal manure, but the results can be worth the wait.
Green Manure Variety I am trialing: Mr Fothergill's Green Manure Mix
Tips for growing
- Do not let the Green Manure go to seed.
- Snip off the tops of the plants as they reach a reasonable height.
- Allow those cutting to compost on the garden bed.
- Later cut the Green Manure plants at the base of the stems.
- Generally allow a minimum of 8 weeks for growth and 6 weeks for it to decompose.
- Always read your packet's instructions for best results.
- There are two seasonal varieties, warm and cold climate green manures.
Benefits of Green Manure
- When used in crop rotation they can break disease cycles
- Increasing organic matter, earthworms and beneficial micro-organisms
- Increasing the soil's available nitrogen and moisture retention
- Stabilising the soil to prevent erosion
- Bringing deep minerals to the surface
- Providing habitat, nectar and pollen for beneficial insects and reducing populations of pests
- Improving water, root and air penetration in the soil
- Smothering persistent weeds.
Cool Season green manures include:
BQ Mulch, fava bean, fenugreek, lupins, oats, subclover, woolly pod vetch. As a general guide, in areas with cold winters in southern Australia, begin sowing in early March and again in early spring; most of northern NSW and Queensland should wait until late April - May before sowing; in frost-free areas these seeds can be sown right through winter, until early August.
Warm Season green manures include:
Buckwheat, cowpea, French white millet, Japanese millet, lablab, mung bean, soybean. As a general guide sow in spring after all danger of frost has passed, usually mid-September; sow summer whenever good rainfall is expected; in tropical areas seeds can be sown right through the year whenever moisture is available.
I shall keep you posted on how well it worked for me.
My crop has just started to appear.
Update: 5 October 2012I have snipped the green manure a couple of times. Excellent performance. Little water required.
|5 October 2012|
|5 October 2012|
|Rotting down green manure crop in December.|
UPDATE (December): I will now allow another month before using to ensure that all the available nutrients can be absorbed efficiently before the new vegetable crop is sown. Ideally, a longer rest time in a larger garden would be best, but turn-over time in a container garden if often considerably shorter due to the lack of room.
Please let me know how your Green Manure experiments have gone. I would love to hear from you.