Has anyone experience with green manures &/or cover crops in a vege patch?
If so, what are your experiences. What did/do you grow, for what sorts of
benefits and what were/are your planting regimes (sowing, harvesting etc).
Green manure will give you a cover crop...of whatever seeds passed
through the beast that produced it! I made the mistake of spreading
'green manure' over our garden spot a couple of years ago and wow was
I surprised at what came up after working the gard for a month. Like
pulling weeds? Thats what you'll get if you're not creful.
Hope it helps.
No, it doesn't help. You don't know what you're talking about. Green manure
does not pass through an animal.
This is the definition:
A cover crop of annual plants grown to be dug into the soil at maturity to
improve or restore its fertility. Most useful are some annual legumes.
Legumes absorb nitrogen from the air and convert it to plant food. Rye grass
is also used extensively. Green manures also improve soil texture.
I think you've mistaken the phrase 'green manure' for 'fresh (uncomposted)
manure'. Green manure is a phrase commonly applied to cover crops that
enrich the soil, particularly with nitrogen (legumes).
Raw manure (you don't mention what kind) is rarely a good idea unless you
can let it sit over the winter. Many fresh manures can burn plants.
Manure that has been properly hot-composted will generally be mostly clean
of weed seeds. Cold-composted (just letting it sit and rot) manure is a
great addition to the garden so long as you're aware of the weed-bearing
My experience with cold-composted horse manure from my own horses -- who
eat clean hay and graze on relatively weed-free pasture -- is that it is
of excellent quality with minimal weed load. Helps to know the source ;-)
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Here in TN I've used winter rye, red clover, crimson clover, oats and
turnip greens. The oats usually get winter killed and the red clover
hasn't done as well as I had hoped. I use them all to add nutrients to
the soil, keep erosion down in the winter and keep the soil aerated with
the roots. The crimson clover is really pretty in bloom and the winter
rye looks great when everything else is brown.
kate - the cats and dog like the oats and rye
I used alfalfa and annual clover (make sure it isn't a perennial clover or
you will be fighting it forever). I had raised veggie beds with 24" sides. I
rotated the beds yearly so one bed, with winter crops that needed a cold
snap to develop flavor (Brussels sprouts and some root crops), never got the
cover crop sown that year, that bed was then ready for cool temp crop
planting, like peas that liked the cold soil to germinate and early starts
of cruciferous veggies that can stand early season cold, . Once every four
years a bed didn't get it's planting of green manure but I had plenty of
compost to make up for that.
I live in the PNW so I would plant a mix of these two (alfalfa and clover)
about the last of September and into October, depending on harvest times
and weather. About mid March I whacked up what was still standing with a
weed eater, covered the beds with clear plastic and what was left alive or
any seeds on the surface were cooked by solar heat. About mid April I just
used a fork to turn the decomposing crop over so it was toes up and any
green was covered with soil and put the plastic back over it to cook some
more. I generally started planting out the end of April and into May.
Depending on your zone, your mileage may vary.
What had originally been really crappy builder fill turned into fertile loam
in about 3 years and just got better every year. I also bought 25lb bags of
alfalfa pellets from the Feed & Grain store, much cheaper than alfalfa meal
at the garden stores and easier to work with than the expensive "bag o'
dust". I spred this every winter around my flowers, fruit trees perrenial
veggies and garden beds in general. The rains would dissolve most of this
and a shallow scratch or tilling worked it into the soil in the spring.
Green manure crops are good stuff, it's living compost!
Green manures are an essential part of an intregrated organic
technique. They add organic matter when tilled into the soil. If you
use a legume then they are nitrogen fixers and actually add nitrogen
to the soil esp if an inoculant is used. The best info I have seen on
green manure is the book: The "New Organic Grower" by Elliot
Coleman. He writes a very detailed and eye opening information on the
topic. A must for anyone whether you are a gardener or market grower
if you are interested in really usable information.
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