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Spring Mixed – As you might imagine a spring mix of green manure plants would be sown from March to May. This mix of legumes and brassicas will most likely consist of Italian Ryegrass, Tares and Mustard.
This group are selected because they will germinate at low temperatures and are fast growing, taking only 2-4 months to mature. So as an example, if you sowed the spring mixed seeds in early March, the plants would be ready for turning in at the end of May or early June and the planting area could be ready to receive new vegetable plants in late June or early July.
A spring mix is suitable for most soil types and the soil will benefit from the usual added nitrogen, improved soil structure and water retention.
Sow at 3 grams per sq. m. - this packet covers 33m2
March to May
Green manures provide a cheap, economical source of composting material and are good as a soil improver, as well as reducing weed establishment in ground that would otherwise remain empty.
Ground preparation and seed sowing
Green Manures can be easily incorporated into a crop rotation programme. Clear the area of any weeds and debris from a previous crop of vegetables. Cultivate the area by digging or use a rotovator if it’s a large area. Rake the cultivated ground to a level surface and then firm by treading or use a garden roller.
Lightly rake the surface again and then sprinkle the green manure seeds over the prepared area. If you want a good ground cover to suppress weed growth then sow thickly. Finally, rake again lightly to cover the seeds and water if necessary. Then leave the area alone until the seeds have germinated. If the weather is dry then lightly water as required.
Incorporating the green manure plants into the soil
Give yourself plenty of time in deciding when to dig the green manure plants in. However, also take into consideration the time it will take for the green manure plants to begin to decompose. You don’t want to be planting vegetable seedlings into ground that has just had green manure plants turned in, as the decomposition stage will generate heat, which could damage your delicate seedlings.
Try to allow at least 2-3 weeks before planting or sowing seeds to the prepared ground. Watering the ground during warm spells will help speed up the decomposition of the green manure plants.
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