Supply the raised bed in the kitchen garden or in the greenhouse with valuable nutrients. Autumn is the right time to sow a cover crop mix.
Sowing green manure: a simple way to improve the soil
Every hobby gardener looks forward to a rich harvest. But crops require a lot of nutrients during the growing season for fruiting. They extract that from the garden soil. At the end of summer, the soil in the kitchen garden is very poor. The soil in the raised bed in particular must therefore be fertilized if delicious vegetables are to grow next year.
Green manure is an environmentally friendly method that can improve garden soil. Certain plants are sown in September. Certain species are chosen that grow quickly and can be “harvested” after a short time. The clippings are then mixed with the soil in the raised bed and broken down by the microorganisms in the soil. The resulting humus mass in turn provides nutrients and improves soil quality.
The plants that come into question for green manure fulfill another very important function. They can even root through clay soil and thereby loosen it.
In addition, it is very easy to sow the plants for green manure. You don’t have to worry about the seed and the care is also uncomplicated.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of this method is that the nutrients are not released to the soil all at once. The clippings gradually break down and gradually release them. Therefore, the green manure acts as a kind of long-term fertilizer. It is perfect for the kitchen garden, where many types of vegetables are heavy feeders.
Green manure is suitable for mixed crops
This fertilization is especially recommended for mixed cultures. There, the different plants also make different demands on the soil. Adding compost to the soil will quickly wash it away with rain and snow. Only plants with deep roots can absorb the nutrients. In contrast, the green manure method can be used to supply both shallow-rooted plants such as radishes and deep-rooted plants such as cauliflower, asparagus, tomatoes and beetroot.
By using green manure, you can also prevent the top layer of soil from being washed away by rain.
Conclusion: Green manure is a simple method of soil improvement. You can save money and time by choosing the right mixture and at the same time do something good for the environment.
Green manure in autumn: plants for the raised bed
When choosing the right mix for the kitchen garden, focus primarily on the plant family. Avoid planting crops and green manure plants from the same family one after the other. The following plants are ideal for green manure for the raised bed:
- the alfalfa
- Real buckwheat
- meadow clover
- horse bean
- Many-flowered ryegrass
- Brown mustard
- bee pastures
- white clover
Mixtures for the raised bed in the kitchen garden
Alfalfa and short oats: Mix the seeds 1 to 1. This combination quickly provides nitrogen and suppresses plant growth. This mixture has another advantage: the plants die in winter and form a layer of mulch on the soil that protects it. In this way, the nutrients cannot be washed away by rain and snow.
Winter roe and winter vetch: in a ratio of 4 to 1. This combination is perfect for late fall cover crops. The winter roe tolerates cold without problems and loosens the loamy soil.
Mixtures for the raised bed in the greenhouse
Bee pastures and true buckwheat: in a ratio of 1 to 1. Buckwheat grows very quickly and its flowers are an important food source for bees and other pollinating insects in the late fall. Cut the plants when they have already flowered for 10 days.
Clover and marjoram: in a ratio of 2 to 1. The clover suppresses weed growth, attracts beneficial insects such as ground beetles and helps control cabbage white. In addition, the plant produces beautiful flowers and can also tolerate shade well. Perfect for the raised bed in the greenhouse or a shady spot in the kitchen garden.
You can of course also use the mixtures for the greenhouse in the garden and vice versa. It is especially important that you mix the seeds in the right proportions.
Sow green manure in autumn: instructions
You can sow the plants once a year, preferably in September. Proceed as follows:
First remove weeds and loosen the soil with a shovel. Sow the seeds as widely as possible over the entire surface of the raised bed. Then cover the seeds with soil. If the day is sunny and the soil has dried a little, you can water it. The plants for green manure manage with a little care. Water them only when necessary. If you wish, you can cut them off after several weeks and work the clippings into the soil. Another option would be to leave the plants alone.
Most of these die after the permafrost sets in. The dead plant parts form a mulch layer and protect the soil from rain and snow. They are gradually broken down by soil life and are no longer seen in the spring. Then you can also plant different types of vegetables.