The grazing rye forms an incredible fibrous root system that holds moisture and nutrients within the top soil. It forms a dense mass of leaves that cover the surface of the soil an protect it from winter rain. Both the roots and the leaves are a reservoir of nutrients that will break down quickly when dug into the topsoil during the spring.
|Tares and rye green manure|
|Green manure planted in rows goes further |
and forms a weed suppressing canopy
|All the green manure has been planted in rows. It gives|
the opportunity to hoe out weeds when the green manure is
small like this.
|It grows best if sown in the late summer|
- late August or September in the UK
|This green manure has grown well but|
later sowings have been attacked by
slugs and snails.
|Planting in sucession|
|The green manure canopy is closing over - not many|
|If you look carefully you can see seedlings of Sinapsis alba |
and Veronica agrestis. So not all the weeds have been
|But you can't see 'em when the green manure forms a canopy|
October 2012. It looks a little more untidy in December 2012
because of winter rains and frost but it is doing its job.
|Green manure on the old onion bed.|
|Green manure on the old Lathyrus odoratus bed|
|Late sowing like this means that the plants have not grown|
very much and no canopy has been formed yet
When winter tares are dug in the nitrogen that has been fixed by the bacteria and passed to the plant returns to the top soil when the tares rots down. Tares will rot down relatively quickly.
After digging over the potato bed to remove any little potatoes that I missed and added pigeon manure, I have sown green manure in rows. There is some thought that green manure should be sown broadcast. I see no good reason for doing this and several reasons for not doing it.
I want to keep the green manure as free from weeds as possible. This is difficult when sowing broadcast. When planted in lines I can get to weedy areas and remove the unwanted plants. I can keep the green manure watered with comfrey liquid and hoe between the lines to keep the soil open and free of weeds.
I have also put this mixture of green manure on the old pea bed after adding pigeon manure. I still have one line of Hurst Green Shaft that is producing peas so I will not be able to cover the whole area yet. I also want to put green manure on the old leaf and root bed. The carrots, parsnips and beetroot will stay in the ground but a lot of the leaves have gone over now so I will be removing them to put the green manure in.
Most of the vegetables have cropped much better than I thought they would. The potatoes are washed, dried and bagged and waiting to go into the store shed. Onions and leeks are starting to swell up and make decent plants. The sweetcorn has produced some good cobs and the pumpkin and courgettes are producing fruit now. No squashes yet and no cucumbers either.
I have taken out all the stems that fruited from the raspberries and tied in all the new canes. I await the autumn raspberries. They will be fruiting soon.
I am leaving the sweet peas to go to seed which I will collect and plant in the autumn.
I need to take more of the swedes and kohlrabi or they will go woody. I am finding it difficult to keep up with them. I need this area to plant the new strawberry bed so they will have to be harvested soon. I will put straw around the strawberries again next year. It was a great success this year.
A few more of the cabbages are ready for harvest now.
The runner and climbing French beans are cropping now. I am getting quite a few runners even though it is a really late year.
Most of the Florence fennel and celery that is left has gone to seed. No matter they will make good green manure.
Carrots and beetroot are being slowly cropped. The carrots are a little forked this year and I am not too sure why. I did not add any manure to this bed this year. They did get a lot of green manure and pea plants dug in last autumn though.
So overall not as bad as I thought it was going to be. Probably the most disappointing were the sweet peas.