Sow Green Manure This Autumn

If you have a vegetable plot or allotment it’s highly likely that now we are in mid autumn, some of your plot has become bare (fallow) as your summer crops have finished. Rather than leave the soil fallow until spring, we highly recommend sowing green manure seed.

Grown to benefit the soil, green manure can improve soil structure, increase soil fertility and help suppress weed growth. In addition they can disrupt pests and disease life cycles. The type of green manure you need to sow now is winter crop varieties. These winter crops prevent nutrients in your soil, especially nitrogen, from being leached away by winter rains. After a winter crop the soil has been broken down so it will be easier to use in the spring.

How to sow and grow green manure

Sow outdoors by thinly scattering the seed over finely raked soil, which has already been watered. Before the green manure flowers and sets seed, turn it into your soil by lifting it up, turning it over and then digging it into the soil. If a longer period of ground cover is required, then flowering of the green manure can be delayed by cutting plants back (by about a third) when flowers begin to form.

We recommend a Winter Rye or an Autumn/Winter Green Manure Mix which usually consist of Crimson Clover, Broad Leaf Clover, Westerwolds Rye Grass and White Tilney Mustard.


Image accreditation: Krzysztof Golik (2021), Trifolium incarnatum (Crimson Clover) on WikiCommons. Last accessed on 19th October 2022. Available at: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Trifolium_incarnatum_in_Aveyron_(8).jpg