A layer of green manure can help to reduce erosion during the extremes of winter weather by holding the soil’s structure together with a collaborative root system. This also reduces the effects of excess rainfall by part-absorbing surplus water and improving drainage. Weeds are suppressed and out-competed, soil microbiology is kept active and by the Spring – when gardens need a boost of nutrients – your soil will be ahead of the game.
Sow in autumn to grow through the winter.
Any beds or areas where planting has fizzled out at the end of summer. Particularly useful in soil that has been home to ‘gross feeders’ like zucchini, squash, tomato, melons that take a lot of nutrients from the soil during the growing season and leave it depleted.
Green manure is a fast growing, mass-sown swathe of vegetation that can be sown onto soil that has been dug through and raked level. Depending on which plant you go for you may need to work soil till it is fine and runs freely through your fingers - ready to germinate small seeds such as mustard or rye.
Green manure is mass-sown to cover soil rather than sown in rows. Using the likes of rye, clover, mustard, vetches, broad beans, peas or oats, the idea is that soil that you’re not going to cultivate during winter is protected and enriched as an entire area. Sow seed at the recommended rate, if planting broad beans then plant beans with a distance of about a finger’s length from the next bean on all sides.
Through winter the crop should be okay if left completely alone. All you’ll need to do is to cut the crop down in late winter or early spring and then either incorporate it with the soil as a green manure or lay it mulch-like on the surface.
Three weeks’ later you are ready to plant.