Saturday, August 13, 2011

Green Manure

I've tried to step up my efforts this year to improve the fertility of my garden soil.  The 'lasagne' garden layers I did last fall were a great success.  It raised the level of soil in the beds, and based on the growth I've been getting this year , I can only assume it has helped fertility as well.

I have been pumping greens and browns into my composter like crazy.  However, I've already run out of shredded dry leaves, which is hard to believe since I had about 7 bags saved from last fall.  But, after using leaves for compost, as a mulch, and on the potato beds, they really didn't go that far.  Luckily getting leaves in my neighbourhood is never hard, but I'll just have to save more- much more- this fall.

Something else I'm trying this year is green manure. I've been reading a lot about various crops that  you can grow to replenish your soil.  I purchased a bag of buckwheat and a bag of oat seeds from ferme tourne-sol in quebec:
http://www.fermetournesol.qc.ca/eng/welcome.html
I was planning on growing oats strictly for the composter, ie a 'compost crop', but haven't managed to find room so far.  I have, however, planted buckwheat in several areas throughout the garden as I've harvested crops.  The plan is to dig it into the soil before it starts to flower, to let it decompose and replenish the soil's fertility. 

Another green manure strategy I have read about, is to grow a late crop of oats, planting mid-aug to mid-sept, and then let it die back during the winter.  I will hopefully be able to do this in the areas I'm not using for fall or winter crops.

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