No-till green manure?

simcan(z5b/Toronto)May 21, 2009

Hey, all...I wrote below about my established garden and clay soil. One thing that occurred to me is to grow a green manure in the beds this autumn amongst the plants, and then, in the late autumn/early winter, cover the whole thing up with a layer of compost and mulch (my plan regardless).

Note the part about it dying...any "annual" non-hardy (in Toronto) green manures someone can recommend? I don't want to turn it into the soil if I don't have to (believe me, this is not laziness, really (not that there is anything wrong with laziness) just that I do not want to going churning about until I get to know where everything is). I am thinking this would be a nice "add" to my reconsitution of the soil, and if it is dead and gone come spring, I would happily do it every fall.

Thoughts or suggestions?

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the_virginian(Zone 7 NoVA)

Try a less hardy type of clover.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 2:29PM
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Buckwheat is a fast growing cover/green manure that will winterkill, and is cheap. Peas are another option, albeit an expensive one, and they leave the soil in a beautiful state. Stay away from any grass like rye, and although some vetches are not hardy in our zone 5, I wouldn't chance it.

My vote would be for buckwheat.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 10:25PM
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Annual Ryegrass should never be used for a green manure or cover crop, although some people seem to think it is the same thing as Wnter, Field, or Cereal Rye. Vetch, if allowed to set seed can be a bit invasive and is hardy, Buckwheat is easily killed by frost and could be a good addition although as proposed it would be a cover crop not a green manure since you would not till it in green. The Field, Winter, or Cereal Rye, a grain crop not a grass, could be seeded in and then covered when about 6 inches high with compost and mulch and that should effectively kill those plants.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 9:12AM
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Annual ryegrass is an excellent cover crop. I've used it, let it winter kill and plant right into the dead sod in spring. It produces lots of subsurface organic matter and does a good job of choking of weeds.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 11:10AM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

My reply disappeared.

Plant a fall pea crop. Eat. Cut stems and leave roots.


    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 11:54AM
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It's tough trying to get any decent growth in Ontario's autumn from a heat lover like buckwheat.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 12:11PM
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