sowing green manure

November 13, 2011 at 9:56 pm 5 comments

A couple of years ago I overwintered the patch of land in front of our shed with Hungarian Grazing Rye.  Last year I didn’t replenish the soil and our potato crop may have suffered this year as a result (coupled with the fact that the hazlenut trees that border that edge of the plot cast too much shadow).  So this Autumn I’ve sown another green manure, Mr Fothergills Phacelia Tanacetifolia, to revitalise the soil for next years crops.  Phacelia is very fast growing (started sprouting after a week or so) and will suppress the weeds protecting the soil from erosion and leaching during the winter months.
Sorting through my seeds I found some left over field beans from 2009.  I’m debating whether to stick them in (or persuade G to for me) if only to provide some competition for the weeds over winter.  I think it’s safe to say my gardening days are over for 2011.  On the plus side slipping into my little wellies is a lot easier than struggling past a big bump to get any other footwear on so I may look the part more and more as the actual gardening happens less and less (just try not to notice how clean my boots are!)
note to self: Phacelia sown mid Sept. Photo on left 28-9-11, photo on right 17-11-11

Entry filed under: allotment tales.

white chocolate heaven wordless wednesday

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Joanna  |  November 14, 2011 at 11:51 am

    If you use these do they carry on reseeding or what do you do with it once it has grown? I don’t know whether it would be a good thing to do in my raised bed, which is really quite small compared to an alotment. I have leeks that self sowed coming up now and my chard is carrying on merrily so I don’t know if I could sow some of this in the bare patches…. I love the thought of you in your clean wellies and bump though xx

  • 2. Janet/Plantaliscious  |  November 14, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    So how late can you sow phacelia then? I’ve totally failed on my green manure attempts so far this year, and I think it is now too late, but maybe next year… Or in the spring…

    Am most amused at the thought of wellies being the only footwear easy to put on! Hope your other half is happy to act as your gardening slave, enjoy ordering him about 😉

  • 3. greg becker  |  November 14, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    Green Manure, sounds like a good idea, especially if it adds fertility to the soil for next year, that could mean even more pumpkins!

  • 4. Nip it in the bud  |  November 16, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    Joanna – generally with green manures you dig them in before they flower (so that they don’t reseed or become too tough to break down in the soil). I don’t think I’d plant them in a raised bed as you may not have the depth of soil and it would be tricky to sow between plants. I’d be inclined to use black plastic if I wanted to suppress weeds and the feed the soil with something else in the spring (like chicken pellets or manure).

    Janet – most green manures are best sown by late Sept (which is when I did mine, just late posting about it). Hungarian grazing rye can be sown as late as November but you probably have missed the prime time now since sunshine is in short supply. You can sow in the Spring for digging in during the summer but I’ve never done that as I want to use all the ground available for veg at that time of year.

    I think we’ve definitely parted company with the allotment now (except for perhaps one last trip to pull up some carrots). G is busy finishing off the bathroom refit so I’ve had to prioritise my need for leisurely soaks in the bath over mud on the wellies!

    Greg – you could be right there especially if they help hold moisture in the soil. I had a single pumpkin plant this year which produced a single pumpkin the size of a large grapefruit. Hey ho, I would ask for tips but then I’m not that enamoured with eating them!

  • 5. plot taming … oh my word! « Nip it in the bud  |  June 2, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    […] we toiled away in the blistering heat.  Hours spent just shearing grass and pulling out weeds.  The vetch seed that I’d sown as a green manure in the Autumn had died back  over winter and I intended to roughly dig it in and cover with black plastic to […]


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