Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Green Manuring

Not so long ago I thought I didn't have enough space in my garden. Not enough space for all the veggies and fruit I wanted to grow. But I'm starting to realise that is a complete nonsense. I just need to get a bit wiser in the way that I am growing. So I've decided this year to...
  • Plant things closer together - I'm no expert but those instructions on spacings on seeds packets are surely wrong.
  • Stop designating spaces in my garden as either ornamental or veggie patches and start growing veggies all over the place and intermingling flowers for bees with them. 
  • Get rid of the grass and replace with paths and patches (I embarked on this mission last year and am pleased to say I have succeeded and finished... except for the grass/weeds that keep growing) 
  • Make more use of vertical space
Making use of vertical space is going to be my new campaign this year I think. I've been reading a couple of books which have great ideas on vertical gardening and they are inspiring me. Oh and so is Linda at Witches Kitchen who also uses lots of vertical space for veggies.
So anyway, even though I've only just begun to discover more space, I am finding that as we are nearing the end of the season some patches in my garden are completely empty. So I was thinking I ought to attempt finally some green manuring in those spots.

I did in fact have a fantasy quite a while ago that I would do the right gardening thing and crop rotate and green manure. And in anticipation I purchased a bunch of green manuring seeds. So two weeks ago I got them out and sprinkled them over one of my patches and watered them in and forgot all about them. Until a couple of days later when I let the chooks out for a free range. And they spent quite a long time in that patch gobbling up all the seeds I'd strewn.
So a couple of days ago I started all over again and chucked a whole bunch of green manuring seeds all over and watered them in and even gave them a liquid fish feed. So surely they will grow. Of course the instructions that came with them were too wordy and complicated for my impatient brain. So I decided to ignore them. I have likely chucked the wrong seeds out at the wrong time of year. But I'm just hoping for a quick cover that I will chop down when it reaches the right height and add some nutrient to my soil. Or maybe I will just set my chooks free again to do the manure mowing for me.

Do any of you manage to grow green manure crops?  Any tips for me?
The beginnings of a green manure crop - I think.

PS sorry about turning the word verification for comments back on... but those nasty spammers have been driving me nutso lately.


  1. I don't use green manure, because I put nutrients into the soil through copious amounts of home-made compost. I approve of your ideas for maximising the use of the space you have. Inter-planting and under-cropping can double the yield of any piece of ground. The spacings advocated by seed suppliers are the "ideal" ones - and I seldom heed their advice. closer spacings meen individually smaller vegetables, but then that may actually be desirable. Who needs a cabbage that weighs 10kg???
    BTW I'm also having major problems with spammers..

  2. I do green manure. I got mine from a lady at the market. It just said green manure on the packet. No instructions so I just throw them in any bare patch and then dig them in when they are just about 20cms high,that is when I am too impatient to wait any longer.
    I also grow veggies all over the place in amongst the flowers,as I have a very small garden. I also have a worm farm,so dig in loads of worm castings,and water with their diluted wee. I have even got garlic growing under the rose bushes out the front,since you said they need full sun (it's hot out our front)

    I also grow upwards,. I have arches which I grow beans on,last year I grew the best crop of tomatoes over it but know you should never grow tomatoes in the same place as last year. So I rotate between the beans one year,tomatoes the next.

  3. PS, I am having spammers again. They went away for a while,but are back again. I don't know if turning on the word verification will work.

  4. I bought some green manure seed last year - it came with an innoculation kit that look confusing so its all still sitting in the bottom of my seed box. I do like the idea though. I too was having a lot of issues with spam. I turned on Captcha (a bit like your word verification) and blocked some of the worst offending IPs and now I get almost none. Touchwood.

  5. I don't like the digging that you have to do with green manure, but I do like the benefits! Chooks would be the perfect solution. I used a diggers mix that had oats and vetch in it. It is pretty quick and it's perfect conditions at the moment. I'd probably rather grow a bean or pea crop to fix nitrogen. I have found garlic, and onions do better with a bit of space. I turned off anonymous comments and got rid of spammers that way, a shame but they are so annoying

  6. I do use green manure to overwinter some of my raised beds. Usually white clover and usually where I'm planning on growing leafy green crops the following year. The clover plants fix nitrogen to nodules on their roots, the cold weather eventually stops them growing/kills them and they will often rot in situ (which prevents me having to do too much digging). The nitrogen is then released into the soil and becomes available to whatever crop I plant in there next. I do use homemade compost all the time as well, but it is really more of a soil conditioner than a fertiliser.
    Loving your chooks! They're so glamorous - they make my ex-bat hybrids look rather plain.

  7. Oh how funny, I also decided to plant a green manure crop as it is still too rainy to last the dry season vegetables. I had some out of season green manure seeds that did nothing, so I threw out a bunch of mung bean seeds I had for sprouting - now I have a lovely carpet of greens, and for very little cost.

  8. Grow up is the way to go. Have grown cucumbers on a trellis the last couple of years. Currently growing climbing beans up Giant Russian Sunflowers.


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