Garden And Gardener

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Green manures at Crocus

by Diane - July 18th, 2012.
Filed under: Crocus.

Use a green manure to cover ground you don’t want to plant anything in at the moment. Short term plantings that can be dug into the soil after to emable you to keep soil covered with vegetation which helps reduce weed ingress. Also provides nutrients to the soil when dug in to rot.

mustard (green manure)
Position: full sun Soil: humus-rich, moisture retentive soil Rate of growth: fast Hardiness: tender Mustard as a green manure is particularly useful in the fight against roundworm. It also fixes nitrogen in the soil and adds organic matter to helps get your plants off to a great start. 100g of seed will cover approximately 70m2. Once the plant has grown, cut back when it starts flowering (about 40-50 days after germination) and after a couple of days dig in to 20cm depth with a hoe. The ground is then prepared for seeding your flowers and vegetables. Growing Instructions Sow outside – March to October

Limnanthes douglasii (poached egg)
Position: full sun Soil: moist, well-drained soil Rate of growth: average Flowering period: June to September Flower colour: yellow Other features: the flowers are highly attractive to bees and hoverflies Hardiness: hardy annual A profusion of fragrant, yellow-centred white flowers appear throughout the summer above the fleshy, fern-like, bright yellow-green leaves. This pretty, poached-egg plant makes a fabulous informal edge for a sunny, well-drained border. Highly attractive to beneficial insects including bees and hoverflies, it will help reduce pest colonies in the vegetable garden. An easy to grow annual, it is ideal for the children’s garden and will self-see freely. It will also make a wonderful green manure crop. Garden care: Early sowings can be started under glass into good seed compost, which should be kept moist but not wet. Gradually harden off before planting outside. After the frosts, they can be sown shallowly, directly into well-prepared, sunny beds outside. When the seedlings are large enough to handle thin to 10cm. Sow: February – May or August – September Flowering: June – September Approximate quantity: 30 seeds.

Trifolium repens (white clover – green manure)
Position: full sun or partial shade Soil: fertile, moist, well-drained soil Rate of growth: fast Flowering period: April to September Flower colour: white, sometimes flushed with red Hardiness: fully hardy A common sight in wild meadows, this fast-growing clover has rich green leaflets, often with a creamy white band at their base. For many months from spring to autumn, clusters of near-white flowers appear in profusion and these are very attractive to bees and other pollinating insects. This is one to avoid if you want a pristine lawn (it can become invasive), but it is perfect if you want to create low-growing ground cover in record time. White clover can also be grown as a green manure crop and dug into the soil before the plants start to flower. Garden care: Sow shallowly in pots or trays at any time of the year using good seed compost and keep moist but not wet. Place them in a warm position with a little light shade until they have germinated, then move them into the sun. If necessary thin them out and plant them out after they have grown on. Sow: January – December Flowering: April-September Approximate quantity: 750 seeds

Phacelia tanacetifolia (fiddleneck)
Position: full sun Soil: any, fertile, well-drained soil Rate of growth: average to fast-growing Flowering period: June to September Flower colour: lavender-blue Other features: contact with the foliage may aggravate skin allergies Hardiness: hardy annual Lavender-blue, bell-shaped flowers, which are laden with nectar, form in densely-packed clusters on sturdy stems and attract bees and other beneficial insects in their droves. Perfect for wildflower meadows, or naturalised planting schemes, the flowers will last well after being cut. The fast growing foliage will help suppress weeds and makes an attractive groundcover. Scorpion weed can also be treated as a green manure crop, which will help enrich the soil. They self-seed freely. Garden care: From early spring, sow into small pots filled with good seed compost and initially protect with a cold frame or unheated greenhouse. Pinch out the growing tips to encourage bushier growth and harden off before planting out. Alternatively sow direct in autumn into a sunny, well-prepared seed bed. Easy to grow, if you do not want the plants to set seed, remove the spent flowers as they fade. Sow: March-May or September-October Flowering: June-September Approximate quantity: 25 seeds.