We've been sowing seeds for green manure crops where there are garden beds not being used or areas where customers are deciding what to plant.
Bare soil invites weeds to make themselves at home, and when it rains, valuable soil and water wash away taking nutrients with them.
Benefits of covered soil
There are many reasons to sow a green manure crop. To:
Before cover crops seed
Cut them down or pull them out before they go to seed. Use the stems as mulch or dig it into the soil to rot down and release nutrients for the next crop and improve soil structure.
What to sow
Diversity is the way to go. Each plant has its own benefits, from attracting beneficial insects, to adding specific nutrients to the soil.
Include your cover crop in your vege crop rotation plan. Ie don’t grow plants of the same family after each other.
In winter, we have oats and legumes (nitrogen fixers) such as beans, lupins and various types of peas. There’s also winter-hardy salad crops, such as corn salad and miner’s salad (Claytonia).
Experiment with what works in your area and with your soil. You’ve got a lot to gain and very little to lose.
With more rain and less heat, but enough to keep the garden happy, autumn is a great time to plant, sow seeds , take cuttings or split perennials.
If you have a wood burner or a firepit, you could plant trees to coppice and supplement your delivered firewood.
Otherwise plant trees and shrubs for shelter, privacy, to bring wildlife into your garden.
If you’re after spring flowering bulbs, get them in now. We’re talking anemones, bluebells daffodils, hyacinths, tulips, snowdrops.
Sow seeds for winter flowers, such as calendula, pansies, wallflowers, cornflowers. Primulas, polyanthus, cineraria will flower in shade if you have a spot for them.
Sow direct until May: cosmos, cornflower, nigella, poppies, sunflowers and sweetpeas. For sweetpeas, chill seed first to give germination a head start. Once growing, pinch heads off to encourage strong side shoots.
For fresh winter veges sow broccoli, broad beans, cabbage, cauliflower, peas. Or give microgreens a go if you’re short of space and not so patient.
Propagate woody cuttings like berries, grapes, hydrangeas, currants and roses. See Grow your own free plants
For free plants, divide your perennials such as grasses, irises, sorrel, day lilies, hellebores, hostas, heucheras, achillea. Get more bang for your buck and a better show by grouping them.
Cover bare areas
Finally, if you have any bare areas, sow green mulch such as Kings Green Mulch mix. This helps reduce weeds, then you chop it down before it seeds and use it for mulch. Win-win.