wot is it

General tips / questions on seeding & planting

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Chantal
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Postby Chantal » Wed Aug 09, 2006 12:41 pm

It's when you sow seed and let it grow specifically to cover the ground (usually in the winter) and then dig it in when you want to use the ground again. It adds stuff to the soil, Allan and JB will no doubt give you the technical details.
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Postby Marge » Wed Aug 09, 2006 1:52 pm

I read an article once on 'vegan' gardening where they used this green manure technique, as ordinary manure comes from animals and they cannot use it.
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Postby oldherbaceous » Wed Aug 09, 2006 2:04 pm

Hello Anthony, as Chantal quite rightly said it is a crop grown specifically for harvesting for compost or to be dug directly back into the soil.
You can either grow a short term crop such as mustard or a longer term crop such as clover.
There are also crops that will over winter and some that fix nitrogen into the soil.

The main benefits of green manure are, increased organic matter, reduced weed growth, earthworms will be encouraged, loss of plant foods by leaching and nitrogen fixation.

I grow a green manure in the summer called tubingen mix, this also attracts bees and hoverflies.

Then there is also comfrey this is a perrenial, it can be cut several times a year to make compost or comfrey liquid manure or even just for a mulch.

Green manure is quite a large subject, but a fairly simple one when you get your head aroud it.
It really is an underated crop.

Hope i haven't bored you, and there might be more to come on this subject. :wink:

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Postby peter » Wed Aug 09, 2006 11:13 pm

As OH says some of the green manures "fix" nitrogen in the soil.

Clover is one of those.

In little nodules on the roots bacteria convert nitrogen gas from the atmosphere into a form of nitrogenous fertilizer, the clover normally takes advantage of this, but of course when you dig it in the clover dies before the bacteria fertiliser gets used, so it is there are waiting for what you plant. Well in theory anyway.

Edwin Tucker and Sons at http://www.edwintucker.com/Seeds/seeds%20index.htm offer decent sized packs of green manure, ask for their catalogue, they also offer a decent "organic" range alongside the normal stuff.
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Postby Allan » Thu Aug 10, 2006 3:38 am

There is a good write-up of green manure on www.kitchengardens.dial.pipex.com.
Click enter, then the green manure page link is on the left hand side.
Nothing to do with this forum but while you are there on the homepage you might as well have a good look around.
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Phacelia

Postby Belinda » Thu Aug 10, 2006 9:28 am

Hi Anthony,

I grow Phacelia as a green manure. Sow Mar-Sept, and is winter hardy so is good for unoccupied ground over winter. The packets say cut down and dig in before flowering to prevent self seeding but I left mine to flower as the bees love it, it was dug in in early spring and the resulting soil was really good.

One thing to look for if using green manure directly before a veg crop - how long before planting the veg crop the green manure has to be dug in. In the early stages of rotting, germination of direct sown small seed will be suppressed. So, either read the instructions carefully, or plant module grown things.

http://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/organic ... n_mans.php
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Postby Johnboy » Thu Aug 10, 2006 12:08 pm

Hi Anthony,
Edwin Tuckers Catalogue on line is very explicit and gives a chart as to when to sow and periods of use.
The details I talk of are on pages 64,65 & 66.
You need Abobe Reader on your computer to be able to access this information.
www.edwintucker.com click Catalogue in lefthand column.
Alternatively E-Mail then and order a catalogue.
seeds@edwintucker.com
I feel this is probably the best of the catalogues with regards to clarity and especially for somebody striving to learn.
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Postby Weed » Thu Aug 10, 2006 4:59 pm

Hi Johnboy

I have never used green manures but would like to try them out this year. I see that the references in the Edwin Tucker catalogue you mentioned show most green manures being dug in prior to the new year with others to be left in for twelve months.

Which, if any,are the best for planting at this time of the year and dug in say February next year?

I have heavy clay soil that tends to get water logged and solid during the wet winter months

I would appreciate any advise you have to offer
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Postby oldherbaceous » Thu Aug 10, 2006 9:07 pm

Good evening weed, hope i'm not treading on any toes here. :wink:
If i grow a winter green manure it is either grazing rye or winter tares.
If it's grazing rye i normally follow by planting beans.
If it's winter tares i follow with brassicas.
My ground used to be really heavy just like yours, but it has much improved over the years.

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Postby Weed » Fri Aug 11, 2006 7:15 am

Thanks OH

You can tread on my toes as often as you like with information like that.

I see that you tend to apply the green manures to individual beds rather than one all over blitz dependant, of course, on the crop you intend to put in there afterwards ...interesting

You can see from my comments that I am totally green on the subject (pun intended) :wink:
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Johnboy
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Postby Johnboy » Fri Aug 11, 2006 10:41 am

Hi Weed,
I take it that you have accessed Tuckers website and have viewed the growers chart.
Across the page there is a line of kisses under the months to sow and a continuous line below that which is the time to utilise the green manure.
It is a mistake to allow any of the green manures seed on your veg plot as they very soon become unwanted weeds. If you want to allow Phacelia to flower for the Bees do it somewhere where you can control it adequately.
I find Crimson Clover very useful as it is a very quick return and experimented by sowing a crop and digging in and then another on top and digging it in and sowing yet a third crop but this time allowing to get to almost flowering then cover with heavy duty black Polythene and leaving over winter and digging finally quite deeply the following spring. I that instance it was a whole 6ft bed 32ft long.
With clay I have my doubts that you could turn it in because of the soil condition but here I have plenty of bare rock but no clay and up to 4ft of topsoil on most of the plot.
They are said to blanket out weeds but I find the stronger growing perennials manage to peep through the crop but when young they are quite easy to to deal with. It is not the 'sow and forget' crop that some people in the past have thought and must be managed as any other crop.
It is nothing new as my grandfather used to undersow cerial crops with clover back in the mid 1930's to my recollection yet suprise suprise the Organic Brigade have acted as though they invented it back in the 1960/70's which is clearly their usual nonesense.
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Weed
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Postby Weed » Sun Aug 13, 2006 12:41 pm

Thanks Johnboy

I already had a Tucker catalogue as I did buy seed from them this year.
I did read an article (Maybe it was KG) where red clover was used as underplanting with some interesting claims as to it being all that was required.
I would not have thought of planting a green manure immediately after harvesting a previous crop
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Postby vivie veg » Mon Aug 14, 2006 8:07 am

Hi Johnboy,

Why do you dig in the clover crop and resow? As mentioned before I have clay soil and don't relish digging it in so many times. Could I just cut it down and leave it in situ. Then put the polythene down after three cuts? Bearing in mind I will be looking at a 66ftx66ft square plot, but do have the assitance of a rotavator.
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Postby Mike Vogel » Thu Aug 17, 2006 6:22 pm

I learned about Green Manures from the HDRA [now "Garden Organic". The general idea is to sow a green manure of the same family as the previous crop but different from what is to follow. So after brassicas I sow mustard if I'm going to put spuds there next year. As well as feeding the soil, this seems to have the effect of allowing eelworm and wireworm to feed early, metamorphose and fly away before the later spuds develop the tubers which the grubs would otherwise feed on. So you get healthier late spuds.

I use winter tares to fix nitrogen. These can be sown all year round, unlike alfalfa and clover, which I also use but will only germinate in warmish weather. So I sow these manures wherever I'm going to plant brassicas later on.

Hungarian Rye is also a good bulky GM, which I sow where I'm going to plant spuds, beans, tomatoes or celeriac. Phacelia is my favourite; it's not supposed to be hardy, but 2 years ago it survived the winter frosts. You can use this as mustard, and I sow it where the root crops are going to grow.

Belinda mentions suppression of germination. This is particularly the case with Hungarian Rye and Winter tares.

The HDRA has a small guide to GMs available on request.

mike
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