Thursday, November 5, 2009

Green Manures

Again it has been over a week since I posted! I honestly do not know where the time goes to.We have had a deluge of rain over the past few days, some areas of the county are flooded and at the height of the rainfall a lot of roads were flooded to the extent of being impassible.Today we have cold wintry sunshine but a gale force North Easterly wind to keep temperatures down.I spent absolutely no time out on the allotment so some of the winter digging is getting behind schedule.We have a huge pile of horse manure on the plots but I have bought some Green manure seed to try an alternative. We already put in Phacalia earlier which has now been cut back to cover the soil, this is one I saw on the Seedaholic website and decided to try it as it is a Winter growing one and can be sown from August through to November.I liked this one as it has 3 types of seed in the mix and some winter colour will be welcome.The red flower is Crimson Clover,it is a good nitrogen fixer,quick and easy to grow,it will take some degree of frost but even if it dies back the winter roots are still beneficial.
The two packets of seed as they arrived, the pic does not show up the lovely mixture of seeds in the packets.There are;Crimson Clover,English Early Common Vetch and Forage Rye.The Vetch is also known as tare, it produces a lot of bulky foliage which improves soil fertility as it fixes nitrogen and helps add organic matter while suppressing weeds, it is considered very useful on heavy soils.The Forage Rye gives good crop cover and helps prevent nutrients leaching from the soil during Winter,it has deep roots which help to break up the soil.It actually grows during any warmer days during winter even when it is just above freezing.
There are 6 main advantages to growing green manures,
They add organic matter to the soil which helps improve fertility
They make nutrients available to plants grown in the soil afterwards
They prevent nutrients being washed away
They suppress weed growth
They protect the soil from being pounded by heavy rain which can form a compacted top layer
They help break up heavy soil, improving drainage
The flowering manures attract pollinating insects

And of course where it is difficult for a gardener to get a ready supply of manure they are an excellent alternative.
Now all I need are a few dry days to get it into the ground soon
I had to add our own baby Jack!This is the big pumpkin which Kevin took home for Halloween. His Mom Aisling has made pots soup from the pulp but could not resist sitting Jack into the shell in his pumpkin suit,I don't think he is too impressed with his new baby seat!

4 comments:

Ann said...

Your weather sounds terrible Peggy, it's been bad here too so my veg plot still isn't cleared.

Love the pumpkin baby seat, Jack looks a bit surprised!!!

Was it the Hannibal story about his childhood? I found that one more disturbing than the other two. I'm reading a James Herbert at the moment, 99p from Age Concern charity shop.

mangocheeks said...

Peggy,

The weather here has been just as bad, my visits to the allotment have drastically reduced. I am only going over to harvest at the moment, hopefully w/e will give us a dry day, to get some more winter digging done.

I am also growing green manure - fenugreek. The last time I saw the bed was lush and green. I am waiting for it to get a bit more lush so that i can harvest some to eat, thats one of the benefits of fenugreek, it s edible - but an acquired taste and fortunately for me I like it.

I do love baby in the pumpkin. So so cute! Your right he is not amused.

Barbarapc said...

And they said that babies don't come from pumkin patches! You found yourself a real cutiepie. I love the idea of green manure - and it's beautiful as well as beneficial - will try to channel your garden with the green and bits of red when I'm staring at the ice and snow this January.

Matron said...

Oh I love that baby pumpkin picture! wonderful!