Green manures - who knows the facts?

There's been a lot of talk about green manures in recent years, and I found in one of my many allotment books mention that potato worms are unable to mature if you plant agricultural mustard as a manure after harvesting spuds. Given that our potatoes are as tunnelled as the lines under Central London, I'm tempted.

But everybody I've spoken to has said that the cost and time are not borne out in terms of reward, that they are much more difficult to dig in than the books suggest and that their effect is minimal.

So what do you think?

In other news on 103, which is several years from being a potato-growing allotment, believe me, I have finally managed to lift the shower tray that I located last week. Under it I found baby lizards! Yes, baby common lizards are almost black. It had to go (shower tray, not lizard) but I've put down some broken clay pots as a hiding place for them. Now we must work out how to combine clearance with lizard sanctuary preservation ...

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Monday, August 2, 2010


Blogger Joanna said...

I was thinking of green manures but then again we have a rotavator, two wheeled tractor with a plough and a small compact tractor. The rotavator made short work of the wild garlic mustard that rose up after a previous rotavating. I think the trick is to roughly turn the ground over and leave it for a week before doing anything with it to let the green manure rot down.

August 2, 2010 at 9:40 PM  
Blogger Joanna said...

Here is a guide to cover crops that looks quite useful,7518,s1-2-7-789-1-1-2,00.html

August 4, 2010 at 12:43 PM  
Blogger allot of veg said...

I used Hungarian rye grass as a winter manure in 2008/9 and I'm still digging it out now. I did not repeat the exercise in 2009/10!

August 4, 2010 at 3:43 PM  
Anonymous said...

The lizard is adorable...I am glad you are going to make them a little sanctuary...I wonder if we have them in our area...I love to attract all the wildlife to my plot...I think I will be going old clay pot hunting!!

As for the green manure...I have never got past thinking about it as i worry that I will not get it dig in time due to some crisis happening and then having back breaking work...if you decide to give it a go I would be very keen to hear how you get on!!

August 10, 2010 at 12:21 AM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

Joanna - you're exactly right about turning before digging. The one problem that I find with all those lovely articles is they never describe the different difficulties in digging in eg mustard = easy in my experience but clover = very difficult as it just keeps coming back!

Allot of veg - I hear you! We had a similar experience with clover on a plot we were co-working - it was a nightmare!

Tanya - thank you. The lizards are utterly wonderful but it does mean we can't take our dog to the allotment as he is a small terrier who likes to chase wildlife!

August 12, 2010 at 4:51 AM  

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