Proper GM (Green Manures)

IMG_20141003_161004 copyWho needs GM when you can feed the soil and produce healthy plants via green manures?! I love pick-and-mixing my own blend of green manures, either for under-sowing in early summer (I did a mix of Persian clover, red clover and lucerne under the squash and pumpkins, which has taken reasonably well); or an over-winter or 1/2-year ley. I suddenly realised this week that I needed to green manure the rest of the ‘Market garden’ patch (as well as squash & pumpkins, this part of the rotation also has lettuce, beetroot, chard); so on Wednesday evening I spent a happy few minutes choosing what to use from Cotswold Seeds. These guys are great; they tell you if your choice is out of stock asap (they told me organic seed is a bit short because it’s late in the season, so I had to have some conventional substitutes), plus they will talk to you about your options, and what’s best for your site. Best of all delivery is only 48 hours! I went for more Persian clover, red clover, lucerne, phacelia (I’ve always wanted to try this beautiful bee-attracting N-lifter (rather than N-fixing clovers), and trefoil – although I’ll keep most of the trefoil for undersowing in spring.

IMG_20141003_155249 copy IMG_20141003_144800 copy IMG_20141003_144132 copy IMG_20141003_144139 copySo I managed to borrow the tractor and rotovator from helpful Keith this afternoon, rotovated the chardy/beetrooty/lettuce patch, then broadcast the seed using the great Earthway broadcaster EV-N-Spreader . I’m hoping the heavy rain due tomorrow will work the seed in (it’s very small seed, so should enjoy the fine tilth I made); I have wheel hoed-in the seed before, but because of the wet week ahead, I’m hoping the rain will do that job for me. It is a bit late to be sowing these GMs (rye grass and vetch are the usual over-winter choice and are quick to establish, and winter-hardy); but I’m hoping the mild spell continues long enough for these lovely things to get going.

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