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Green Manure – LandGirl

I have never used “green manure” but after reading so much about it in gardening magazines I decided to give it a whirl.

G

reen manure is not the colourful excrement you might think – but instead is a quickly maturing crop of plants that are sown over a plot and which benefit the soil.

They prevent soil erosion, suppress weeds and release nutrients back into the earth.   When they are sown depends on which variety you choose.  This autumn I bought a big packet of Phacelia tanacetifolia and sowed it in one of the raised vegetable beds.  It is supposed to have pretty purple flowers but mine was sown too late to bloom but it did germinate well and soon covered the ground with a thick carpet.

By December it was getting straggly so I decided to dig it in.  It’s not very hardy and needed to be reincorporated into the soil before a prolonged cold spell.

The soil was sodden – really heavy going – but I was heartened to see some fat earthworms which will feed on the decaying leaves and help process the nutrients into a form roots can absorb.

I’ll be interested to see if there’s a noticeable improvement to the soil’s texture in the spring.

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