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Winter Mixed – This is a specially selected mix of green manure plants that will overwinter in the soil and be ready for turning in from the spring and early summer of the following year.
Sow a winter mix in August or September and the seeds will germinate and grow before the first frosts slow them down. A winter mix will usually consist of Westerworld’s Ryegrass and Winter Tares (Vetch).
Sowing a winter mix of green manure is particularly beneficial for the soil because it can prevent a lot of valuable nutrients from being washed out by the winter rains. Most soil types from heavy clay to sandy soil could also benefit from a winter mix green manure.
Sow at 3 grams per sq. m. - this packet covers 33m2
August / September
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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