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Sunday, 25 March 2012

Green Manure

Following on from last year's success with our crop of potatoes, the first harvest in nearly sixty years, we sowed the bed with a green manure over the winter.

The green manure helps to stabilise the soil during the winter months while also adding organic material to the soil, which in time will increase the humus level within the soil. The particular green manure that we selected was a Winter Mix Green Manure containing Crimson Clover, Mustard, Red Clover and Italian Ryegrass.

The link below will take you to the blog entry last September and the sowing

The mustard struggled to remain standing in part due to the Muntjac deer and partly due to the cold snap in early February. This led to it being completely dried up as we came to incorporate it.

Due to the scale of this bed and time pressures we were unable to dig the area by hand. The crop was cut down with our rotary lawn mower on it's highest setting, without the collecting box and rotavated it in. Ideally we should have used our single-furrow plough to ensure all the plant material was buried. Due to our concerns, however, over the ability of the Italian Ryegrass being able to grow back we opted for the rotavating and hand removal method. Hindsight is a wonderful thing!!

This year this bed will mainly contain legumes.

Cutting the green manure down with our Honda rotary mower

James using our rotavator to incorporate the green manure

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