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When to sow for green manure?  RSS feed

 
Jean Igrec
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Hello fellow mulchers! I hope I put this question in the right forum.

I bought a green manure seed mix:

20% Crimson clover
20% Phacelia
20% Egyptian clover or berseem clover (Trifolium alexandrinum)
40% White mustard

I also bought a pack of buckwheat seed.


I'm sowing this in fall and chopping it in spring (only clovers should overwinter). I plan to cover this with a thin layer of compost and hay on top. So my question is - when sould I sow these to get the most benefit and avoid plants making seeds. Altough mulch should prevent them from taking over my garden, buckwheat and phacelia are very fast producers.

I live in zone 7.

Thank you!
 
John Elliott
pollinator
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It's not really critical when you sow. Any time in the fall is OK, provided you give enough time for the plants to get started before the first hard freeze. The important timing factor is when you cut or roll it in the spring that will determine how much of it goes to seed. I find that crimson clover is very easy to keep from going to seed, all you have to do is mow it a couple of times in late winter. I would say keep a watch for the first flowers, and then mow the following week and two weeks after that.

It will depend a lot on whether we have another hard winter next year like we did this year. My crimson clover is about two months behind where it has been for the last couple of years. It's just now coming into peak flowering, and if I mowed it now, I could pretty much keep it from reseeding for next year.

Why do you say that only the clovers will overwinter? I have mustards that came through last winter just fine, and we almost got down to zone 7 temps here.
 
Jean Igrec
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Thank you for you answer! I hope US and European zones are the same, because we have snow here in winter and I won't be able to mow the clover. This means it won't produce seeds, so it's no big deal.

I believe mustard shouldn't survive winter simply because I was told so and it's being marketed as such in stores. I have absolutely zero experience with mustards.
 
R Scott
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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I would time it for the right moisture in the fall. For me that is the start of the fall rains, for others that is the tail end of the rains (so you don't drown the seedlings). Fall seeding clover has marginal over-wintering here--they just don't build up enough stores fast enough.
 
Leila Rich
steward
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Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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In my temperate climate I'd sow crimson clover and buckwheat in late spring, and mustard will grow anytime.
I'm not familiar with Egyptian clover but it's apparently usually grown in pretty warm regions;
so in my climate I'd sow it in late spring too.
So I'd be sowing everything in mid-late spring-but I usually get some decent rains then...
 
Burt Harrison
Posts: 20
Location: Shorpshire, UK
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We are experimenting with green manure and living mulch this winter and next year.

We have loads of Fat Hen (wild spinach) growing around the farm, which we forage for and eat, so I've harvested some seeds and sown a couple of empty beds with that in the thought that:
1) we can eat it when it grows
2) that it an annual so as long it we don't let it go to seed all is good next season (not too sure how it will winter - we'll see)
3) we can crop and drop and use as a mulch (it also seems to be one of the few things in the garden that the slugs stay away from!)

In two beds we have Mustard, Green in Snow and in another Giant Red, both of which will winter and the same 3 points apply as above with the exception that the slugs will attack it

In another bed we are going to sow white and red clover which we will be cropping and dropping, however with this bed I'm contemplating allowing the clover to continue to grow and plant through it so that it acts as a living mulch which can also be a green manure when it gets too much. My only concern with this is that is will be a good habitat for the slugs so we might have to be careful what we plant in that bed.

I currently looking for other green manure/living mulches we have some vetchs growing around the place once I've identified them I'll harvest the seeds and use that on another bed, same a crop and drop. Another living mulch/green manure that I'm looking at is weed grass (which isn't a grass - not sure which family it belongs to) and pineapple weed.

I'm really kind on growing green manure that can also act as a living mulch so long as it doesn't compete too much much with the veggies.

Oh how I love gardening
 
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