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Green Manure Crops

Deep-rooting plants can break up the sub-soil and bring up trace minerals that are deep in the soil. Alfalfa and red clover are good examples of such deep-rooting plants. These are also good cover crops if you’re not planning to plant in that bed or field for a longer period as they can grow for a year or more.

Broad beans are excellent for breaking up heavy soil, and they grow well in the colder months. Not only do they fix nitrogen into the soil, they have the added bonus of being edible – a delicious treat in the spring.

Buckwheat is a good cover crop for areas where you plan to plant again soon, as it grows very fast and breaks down quickly. Rye, barley or wheat can be used to help suppress weeds. They are rich in organic matter, and can be dug in early or left longer.

Lupines are a great cover crop if you want something that fixes nitrogen, is fast growing, breaks down quickly when dug in and has beautiful flowers as an added benefit. Another beautiful flower is the Marigold, which makes a good cover crop in the summer as they help repel nematodes that live in the soil and eat the roots of plants. They are also great as a companion plant, especially for tomatoes.

with Magic Merlin Rees

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Angel Flinn

Angel Flinn is Director of Outreach for Gentle World – a non-profit educational organization whose core purpose is to help build a more peaceful society, by educating the public about the reasons for being vegan, the benefits of vegan living, and how to go about making the transition.


+ add your own
10:44AM PDT on May 4, 2011

There are millions of ways to make the cycle of life more whole. While feeding sunflowers to the birds, I noticed squirrels wanted some too. The benefit of feeding the squirrels is that if you give them a nice sunflower, they leave a nice fertilizer. No wonder the Roses in that section are doing quite well. Nitrogen without harmful effects...Manure, it's a good thing.

6:02PM PDT on Mar 13, 2011

Love green manures! Also liquid weed teas!

7:48AM PST on Feb 23, 2011


5:53PM PST on Feb 13, 2011

noted and thanx

5:48PM PST on Feb 8, 2011

love hairy vetch. pink and purple, tiny, tubular flowers that hummingbirds love.

9:44AM PST on Feb 6, 2011

Every day i learn something new is a good day. Thanks for making my day :-)

9:24PM PST on Feb 5, 2011


12:16PM PST on Feb 5, 2011

I think I like the idea of planting marigolds all over my garden so pretty.

12:37AM PST on Feb 5, 2011

It's not really necessary to dig them in. They will break down on top of the soil and still provide organic matter. Saves an awful lot of hard work!

9:45PM PST on Feb 4, 2011

we have crimsom clover on our community garden beds this year, am excited to see how it works out

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Good thing I don't eat ground meat!


Well said! Thankyou for sharing this!!!


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