Green manure
Green manure

What is green manure?

Gardeners use the term 'green manure' when referring to plants grown to cover bare soil which are then dug back into the soil to improve soil fertility and soil structure.

As the plants cover the bare soil they also help to suppress weeds which results in less weeding.

How to use green manure in the garden

Plant green manure in rows, or broadcast across the soil for complete coverage of the area - lightly rake the seeds into the soil and, if it's dry, water in.

Once the plot is needed for sowing new crops, chop down the foliage of the green manure and leave it to wilt.

Dig the plants and foliage into the top 25cm (10in) of soil.

It's as simple as that!

Benefits of using green manure

When most people think of manure, they think of the brown kind that comes from cows, horses, and other farm animals. However, there is also a green kind of manure that is made from plants. This type of manure is often called green manure, and it has many benefits for gardeners.

Green manure can be used as a soil improver

Green manure can improve the soil in a number of ways. For example, it can help to loosen the soil and make it more fertile. It can also help to break up clay soils and promote better drainage. In addition, green manure can add nutrients to the soil, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. This can be helpful for plants because these nutrients are essential for their growth.

Green manure can protect against soil erosion

Another benefit of using green manure in the garden is that it helps to protect against soil erosion.

Using green manure to suppress weeds

Green manure crops grow quickly and their very leafy growth can outcompete weeds, smothering them before they can take hold. Green manure acts as a living mulch, suppressing weeds and retaining moisture in the soil.

Green manure can help with pest control

Green manure can provide a great habitat for frogs, beetles and other natural predators that like the damp cover of green manures. These residents will feed on pests such as snails and slugs - natural pest control in your garden.

Types of green manure

There are many different types of green manure plants that you can use in your garden, including clover, alfalfa, legumes, vetch, and rye grass.

When to plant green manure

Green manure can be added to your garden at any time of year, but it is best to add it in latest summer or early autumn after you have harvested your vegetables, when there is plenty of time for it to decompose before planting new crops.

It can also be planted approaching winter for digging in the following spring.

Conclusion: Should you use green manure?

In conclusion, green manure is a great way to improve your garden soil. It is a natural way to add nutrients and organic matter to the soil, which helps to improve the health of your plants. Green manure can also help to suppress weeds and pests, and it is a great way to improve the overall fertility of your garden.

So if you are looking for a way to improve your garden soil, green manure is definitely worth considering.

Happy gardening!