Boost your soil with green manures as your veg beds empty out towards the end of the season and you’ll replenish the essential nutrients your plants depend on and improve the soil’s texture.
Replenish essential nutrients with Green Manures
As the early crops finish and the potatoes come out of the ground and big bare patches start popping up all over the place, just broadcast-sow green manure seed (available from our garden centre here in Two Dales, Matlock) and rake it in lightly. The seeds will germinate within a week or two, covering the ground with dense, lushly green vegetation.
Legumes and Field Beans
There are lots of different types of green manure, from legumes like clover and field beans – natural magnets for nitrogen – or deep-rooted plants which reach down into the soil, drawing up locked-in nutrients and breaking up sticky clay. Summer green manures, like buckwheat or phacelia, die down naturally in late autumn: leave the spent foliage on the ground as a natural cover, then clear it away before you replant. Overwintering manures, like grazing rye, stay green all winter. In spring, shear off the top growth for the compost bin, then turn over and bury the roots. In a few weeks they’ll have broken down and released their goodness into the ground ready for planting.