Agriculture Ecology Organic Practice Regenerative Soil Urban

Green Manure

“Green manures… on Old Street?!” I hear you say. “In Central London?! Why sir, you are a mad fellow indeed! A mad chap for sure!”

In this pursuit of soil regeneration in my container pots I thought this was worth experimenting with. Green manures are, by definition, NOT No Dig. The idea with them is that you grow these leguminous nitrogen-fixing plants, and then, when they are fully-grown, cut them down and dig them into the surface of the soil. By just digging down a few inches I aim to come to a sensible compromise.

According to the packets these should have all been sown at the end of summer after I had harvested my vegetables, flowers, and herbs. Really they are used by farmers after cutting down a whole field of wheat or barley, to give the soil a rest, a bump of nitrogen and some decaying organic matter. The really smart farmers, in my view, grow a legume which will double as a crop – the best example would be something like a Peanut (which doesn’t grow well in my climate as far as I am aware) or, better (because I love to eat and do so daily), Buckwheat.

My Broad Beans are at the back under this mesh with which I am protecting these beds from the Black Cat who clambers all over any empty pots. In the foreground are six pots full of these clovers and alfalfa (a crop itself I guess).

Let’s see whether anything grows or whether the seeds rot before it’s time for them to sprout…