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What is a Green Manure?

Green manures are seeds sown into vacant areas of soil where no crop is required at that time.  They can then later be strimmed and dug into the soil to improve fertility and soil structure. They are usually used in vegetable plots, but can also be used in areas where bedding plants have been removed from an ornamental border for instance.

What are the benefits?

  1. They fix or lift nitrates into the soil in order to provide larger, heavier crops.
  2. They enhance the soil by adding nutrients.
  3. They aeriate and loosen the soil structure to make digging easier.
  4. They lessen the necessity for chemical fertilisers and are therefore more environmentally friendly.
  5. Leaf cover over the soil reduces moisture loss and suppresses weed growth.
  6. They provide shelter for beneficial insects and help control pests.

Suttons Seeds have produced a winter mix to sow between August and mid October, containing winter hardy Rye and Vetch, to maintain winter soil quality. This green manure should be strimmed and then dug into the top 15cm (6in) of soil between February and April next year and left to rot for 2-3 weeks before using the soil again. Each packet of seeds will cover an area of around  4 square metres.

To view the winter mix at Suttons click here

Mark Snelling

All images copyright Suttons

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