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What is green manure?
They also help to control weeds in otherwise 'empty' garden beds, preventing soil erosion and helping to prevent nutrients leaching.
Many species are suitable for using as green manure; usually things that provide lots of fast growing leafy material, and plants that are nitrogen fixing are also highly beneficial.
The crop is grown until they begin to flower (you don't want to create weeds by letting seeds mature) and slashed. They are allowed to rot down and feed the soil before planting a 'real' crop.
At The Green Life Soil Co. we sell Green Manure packs* which contain a mixture of seeds. Packs can differ depending on the time of year. Our traditional (autumn sowing pack) contains: Cereal Rye (Secale cereale), Purple Vetch (Vicia benghalensis), White Lupin (Lupinus albus), Dundale Pea (Pisum sativum) and Brassica Seeds (usually a variety of mustards).
Our Warm season mix contains: sunflower (black & white seeded varieties), millet, canola, safflower, panicum, triticale, oats, buckwheat, alfalfa, soy and mung beans.
Some varieties in the mix will always do better than others (depending on conditions). Sow seeds of these nitrogen fixing plants at a ratio of approximately ½ kg per 10m2.
Allow to grow for approximately 8-10 weeks then slash before flowering (and setting seed) and allow to break down in the garden bed before planting your vegetable crop.
For an 'express' green manure, allow to grow for only 4-6 weeks, then slash. Throw on a few handfuls of blood & bone to aid breakdown, water, then cover with black plastic for two weeks. After this, the crop should be broken down enough to be turned into the soil.
Sew in early autumn for best results.
(*Green Manure packs are available seasonally - please check availability with us to avoid disappointment.)
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