Green manures to follow potatoes

We decided to go for mustard as a green manure to sow on the area of 201 where we’d had our first early and second early potatoes. Mustard seed, as a manure, can be sown from March to September and matures in four to eight weeks. It has a maximum height of 90 centimetres, which is pretty damn tall and means that it will produce a lot of green ‘matter’ which gets dug into the soil. It’s also a half-hardy annual which means it will get killed off by frost. There are two other reasons we chose mustard:

1. it may need extra watering in dry periods to get established (but we are in for a wet few weeks according to the forecasts)
2. it is said to reduce the population of wireworms by stimulating the pest to complete their life cycle much quicker which means the larvae are mature before the potatoes get sown.

Two notes of caution – as part of brassica family you shouldn’t follow mustard as a green manure with a brassica crop and while it looks delicious (apparently) it’s not fit for human consumption.

I sowed it on Wednesday, after raking over the area where we’d lifted potatoes and watering it well before broadcasting the seed. Within twenty minutes, while I was still admiring my borlotti beans, I was rewarded with an intense shower of rain. I anticipate a fantastic green manure!

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Thursday, August 19, 2010


Anonymous said...

I have neverr had the nerve to sow a green manure as I am worried that I will not dig it in time and end up with horrendous amounts of work...I have plenty of pig muck though so I think thats what I am going to stick with!!!

August 19, 2010 at 1:10 PM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

Tanya, it's important to 'supervise' a green manure so you don't end up with it getting out of hand. But as long as your pig muck is mature, you couldn't have anything better - it's the best thing in the world for perennial flowers, apparently.

August 21, 2010 at 6:50 AM  
Blogger Linda said...

Good luck with your green manure - I'll look forward to seeing the photos. Our green manure is our most successful crop this year...

August 22, 2010 at 12:26 AM  
Blogger Scyther said...

Actually, mustard makes excellent eating greens, even if admittedly strong-flavored.

October 5, 2011 at 3:44 PM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

There's almost no history of eating mustard greens in the UK, although the southern states of the USA have collard and mustard greens both as a regular part of their cuisine. Interesting idea to turn the tops of a green manure into a food source too ....

October 6, 2011 at 3:28 AM  

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