Friday, 6 May 2016
Green Manure Crops - Next Step
We've had a severely dry Spring (which followed a dry summer last year and a winter without much snow). The garden is limping along in the unseasonably hot sun (which amazes me). The green manure crops I seeded a few weeks back have all germinated but haven't grown too much due to the lack of water. I was forced into watering by hand just to get the seed to germinate but as we truck all our potable water in (and the rain tanks remain dry), I had no choice but to leave the green manure crop to fend for itself once it sprouted. It would have been 12" and lush by now had we had a bit of rain, but you deal with what you've been given (and this year, that is HOT & DRY).
You can see the areas to the right which are not as far along due to shade (that's where I grow partial shade tolerant crops like greens). This picture was taken a few days ago and they did actually spout and grow a bit.
Below, you can see the progression I've been working on over the last few days. At the back left, you can see the beds that have been hoed in, watered and covered in straw. These areas can be planted out to seedlings soon but not to seed. I'll have to wait for 2 weeks before direct seeding can happen as the rotting process will inhibit germination.
The green manure crop did a pretty good job given the conditions - the soil is nice and fluffy and believe it or not, those little seedlings have held moisture in the soil. I'm hopefully they will keep working for me as they rot down and add organic matter and fertility to the soil.
I've made good progress this morning but I've got 4 more beds to finish today and I'd better go do it. It's hot and dusty work, but it needs doing if I expect to get my food crops in the ground.
Oh - and some good news! The PEAS are germinating :) After last year's fiasco where I could not get peas to germinate for anything (I'm pretty sure the mice stole the seed), I'm one happy gardener :)