Not using your vegetable garden this winter?
When applying a ‘green crop’ you revitalise the soil by adding lots of nitrogen, in a natural way, to the soil. Green crops, made up of mustard seed, lupin seed or garden oats, are easily sown into your unused vege patch, just sprinkle any one, or a mix, lightly rake this in so they are covered with soil and wait for them to come up, which will happen within days. Then, just let them grow and do their thing. Lupin releases vast amounts of nitrogen, improving the organic properties of the soil. Mustard seed act as a pesticide and fungicide helpful in control of nematodes and wireworm, often problems with root crops and garden oats add protein and organic matter to your soil.
It is important that you dig in the green crop before they come into flower, this should be around late winter/early spring. This way the growth is nice and fleshy which will help it break down in the soil quickly and you will get the full benefit of the green crop properties mentioned above.
To dig in your green crop, simply cut the foliage down with loppers or a sharp spade. It is then important to dig the greenery into the soil to a depth of 30cm to ensure the nutrients are absorbed thoroughly.
Using a green crop also helps with aeration of your soil, suppresses weed growth and helps provide an ideal environment for earthworms to do their job. This means that come time to plant your spring flowers and veges, the soil will be in great shape and in turn will provide you with abundant and healthy crops.