Green Manures

Growing green manures is an age-old gardening technique that draws on a large range of fast growing crops to build, regenerate and maintain soil health. I like to think of it as growing soil instead of food – which is all the same thing really. Among the many benefits is this impressive list adapted from Green Harvest’s website:

Green Manures:

  • help prevent and treat soil disease
  • increase organic matter, earthworms and beneficial microorganisms
  • increase the soil’s available nitrogen and moisture retention
  • stabilise the soil to prevent erosion – we’ve used them extensively on our steep banks directly after fresh earthworks, which has worked brilliantly
  • bring deep minerals to the surface and break up hardpans – when you choose plants with deep taproots, such as lupins
  • provide habitat for beneficial insects and reduce populations of pests
  • improve water, root and air penetration in the soil
  • can smother persistent weeds – good choices for weed suppression include lablab, cowpea, lucerne and buckwheat.