GREEN MANURE SMOTHERS EVEN OUR WILD PASTURE PLANTS – 2nd wk in September 2014

Coming from a small urban kitchen garden to a 3 acre plot is both exciting and daunting. One fear is the vigour of the volunteer pasture plants. More often, we just call them ‘weeds’. In our first year, these weeds eg docks and scutch, denied our potato plants the nutrients and moisture they needed and, as a result, we got a poor crop

Mustard seed grown as a green manure. The odd leaf in a salad adds a hot mustard flavour.

Mustard seed grown as a green manure. The odd leaf in a salad adds a hot mustard flavour.

. We’ll know better next year!

Áine sowed a green manure of organic mustard seeds in early September on a bare patch. I was not so sure the mustard could compete with those vigorous weed seeds in the soil, but I’m happy to say the mustard is thriving and keeping the weeds down.

In May when the mustard is about 20cm (8in) high, we’ll dig it in to a depth of about 15cm (6in). We’ll leave the ground to settle for a week or two and then sow or plant out our spring seedlings.

On other bare patches, we will sow other green manures. The Landsberger Mix to be sown in September contains Winter Vetch 30%, Ryegrass 40% and Crimson Clover 30%. In October, we will sow the Rye / Phacelia Mix. All these green manures get dug in come springtime.

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