Summer has said it’s good byes and from here we look towards fall. Garden clean up, bulb planting and prep for next spring are tops on my to do list. This year I’m also planning to grow green manure or cover crops in my raised beds.
What is Green Manure? Good question, it’s not nearly as gross as it sounds! Green manure is a fall crop grown to add nutrients to a vegetable garden bed during it’s down season. Leguminous crops like cow peas, soy beans, sweet clover, velvet beans, vetch and sesbania have amazing nitrogen fixing abilities. Where as non leguminous crops such as sudangrass, buckwheat, millet and sorghum are good at suppressing weeds and adding organic matter to the soil.
Regardless of the variety used, cover crops are grown through fall and winter. In early spring they are lifted and tilled into the soil. This increases the organic material in your soil, which in turn increases the soil structure by aggregation. Giving your soil increased aeration, drainage and a nutrient rich boost. This Leaves your beds energized and ready for spring!
This process is essential for vegetable gardens that wish to be sustainable. Bringing good soil health into your beds the natural way. Eliminating the need for supplemental fertilizers. Green manure also aids in the reduction of erosion in the garden during the winter months. It creates much needed shelter. Making the perfect habitat for native pollinators and predatory beneficial insects. Thus reducing the demand and need for pesticides. Won’t your uber Organic friend be proud!
Are you growing Green Manure this fall? If you are, what did you sow?