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.
Here's how I whip up some compost - it's the simplest recipe.
Find a spot in the garden to build your compost pile. It needs to get some rain and some sun.
Lay some cardboard on the area. It doesn’t need to cover the whole area. Earthworms like cardboard, and we want earthworms.
Then, add any of these things over the next few months:
Every month or so, visit the beach (not a marine reserve) and fill a wool bag or two with any types of seaweed. Chuck it on the heap.
Continue building the pile.
After a few months, or when it gets high (as in tall - not stinky), turn it over. I move the pile to a space next to it (remember it’s lazy compost), using the biggest garden fork.
As you do this, you will see all the critters hard at work turning your waste into beautiful soil: black beetles, centipedes, hoppers, slaters, many red worms, and more.
Where the heap was, you now have a weed-free patch ready to plant. And, you can use the healthy soil from the bottom of the compost pile. Win-win!
That’s lazy compost. Easy peasy! When you've used it you can plant where it was.