Green groundwork

I’m a big fan of green manure, not just because it’s far more pleasant than the real stuff.  The closely packed leafy plants would normally have little place in a productive garden. But chop them up and mix them into the soil and you add a fabulous burst of organic matter, which will help the next vegetables grow.

Before: green manure ready for chopping down

Before: green manure ready for chopping down

Certain varieties of green manure promise to add all-important nitrogen to the soil, which most vegetables thrive on.  In two of my beds I’ve had caliente mustard growing since the autumn. It survived the winter surprisingly well up to now, but mindful of the need for it to rot and break down into the compost I chopped it down yesterday.

During: chopped up green manure on the surface

During: chopped up green manure on the surface

Chopping it down and mincing it up with the strimmer was relatively easy.  The harder work came when trying to get the clippings below the surface where they’ll decompose.  Raking did the trick to a degree but only some vigorous digging and turning over made the clippings disappear properly.

After: clippings dug in and job done.

After: clippings dug in and job done.

I don’t think caliente adds nitrogen, but that can be achieved with some good fertiliser closer to planting time in the spring. Meanwhile the structure of the soil will definitely be better for this weekend’s efforts.

One response to “Green groundwork

  1. Pingback: Green groundwork | www.grow-veg.uk | World Organic News·

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