Saturday, 19 February 2011

Ready for the season

So husband has a few tools now and is immunised against tetanus. Has had a go at digging and manuring and is surprisingly happy with it. The rubbish from his plot is mostly cleared and I got him some daffs for Valentine's day, and some ranunculus that need planting.

My greenhouse is fixed - courtesy of the strong wind a couple of weeks ago, which brought out the lost nuts and bolts - is now clean and disinfected and so are the propagators. My seed stocktaking is also completed and copies have been printed for both hubby and myself, so that we know what is available, where in the crop rotation and when to sow.

Raring to go. Except it's raining quite heavily!

Anyway, while sitting at home in the rain, I was thinking that since my plot is almost all clear and manured too, and since it will take a while for the first seedlings to come out of the greenhouse, I might have a go at green manure this year.

My green manure booklet from Garden Organic gives a comprehensive list of benefits:
  • Feed the soil
  • Protect and improve soil structure
  • Stimulate soil micro-organisms
  • Prevent weeds
  • Control pests
  • Improve appearance
  • Rest soil
so definitely worth it, and I bought a few types. However, there's a problem. Looking at the list
  • Alfalfa La Bella Campagniole B, Fabaceae (Leguminosae) - April
  • Buckwheat                 X, Poligonaceae - April
  • Fenugreek                         B, Fabaceae - March
  • Field Beans                 B, Fabaceae - Sept
  • Fodder Radish         C, Brassicaceae - Aug
  • green manure mix                 X
  • Hungarian grazing rye C, Poaceae - Aug
  • Red Clover         B, Fabaceae - Apr
  • White Lupins         B, Fabaceae - March
most are Fabaceae, which means they go in the rotation with beans and in my 4-year rotation with Alliaceae too. As I grow quite a lot of both beans and garlic, though, I have no "B" beds left. It means I will have to buy Phacelia (Hydrophyllaceae), the only one that you can plant from March onwards and is not in the rotation. I planted it once already, I left it long and the flowers were a lovely lilac, loved by bees.

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