Thursday, 28 June 2007

Wait a minute Mr Postman ...

Hurray, the postman delivered a small package this morning, which turned out to be my Green Manures from The Organic Gardening Catalogue.

Having never grown Green Manures before, I've ordered a few different varieties to try. I've tried to avoid any that need to join the rotation plan. The garlic and over wintering onions were lifted recently, so there are two beds to plant up at the weekend - its going to be so hard to make a decision though .. maybe I'll plant half a bed of each !

Lucerne (Alfalfa)
This seed, which belongs to the clover family and is probably the best of the clovers, has many uses. It can be used to restore fertility in the garden by broadcasting at any time during the growing season from April to September. It is best to sow as early as possible as it is a little slow to establish itself. It has the quality of being able to stretch it's taproots to some depth and bring up the minerals from the subsoil. It is reputed to have certain mineral qualities which are very rare and peculiar to itself so it is being grown in pots and boxes, indoors and outdoors, and the shoots eaten in the same manner as cress with salads.

Buckwheat
Sow at any time during the growing season, but does best when sown early. Can be broadcast or sown in drills, spacing the seeds about 2" apart and at a depth of .5" with 6" between the rows. If sown early in the season will provide a natural haven for the Hover Fly, the larvae of which feed on aphids, thus protecting your other crops. Can be grown on for green manure and dug in when tall enough or used for compost after it has flowered.

Fenugreek
Sow between May and August at a depth of 3cm. A very quick growing nitrogen fixing green manure that will stand until the first frost, producing a valuable quantity of green manure.

Agricultural Lupins (Lupinus Angustifolius)
This is the Bitter Lupin which is used entirely for green manure or as a soil restorer. Being a large seed it is best sown in rows, placing the seed 3-4" apart at any time from April to July. It has a pleasant blue flower attractive to bees, but it can be dug in before flowering if the ground is required, or allowed to grow on to become tall and woody and used for composting.

Phacelia
A winter hardy annual for sowing between March and September. Broadcast 2grams per square metre and rake in. Cut down and dig in before flowering to prevent self seeding.