cover crops / green manure

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by makehumusnotwar, Jul 6, 2004.

  1. makehumusnotwar

    makehumusnotwar Junior Member

    Mar 18, 2004
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    i'm just after some suggestions for some good cover crops / green manure crops. i've got a lot of brand new raised beds, composed mainly of mushroom compost and hay, and need to get something into them quickly before they lose vitality or the grass underneath finds a way through the mulch. lack of time and money, and also the fact that se qld hasn't seen rain for quite some time now has caused me to hold back on the specific herb and vegie planting i intended. i've used a bit of the 'good bug mix' from green harvest seeds, plus some alfalfa(lucerne), sugar snaps and nasturtiums. what other crops would suit my purpose here in the currently rather dry subtropics, that are quick growing (this time of year) and easy to obtain?

    and, speaking of the lack of rain, does anyone (in the general s.e. qld area) know what's going on? i've only been here about 6 months (previously in crazy weather melbourne), and i know that winter is generally rather dry, but some of the locals i've spoken to are even surprised at the weather. i've noticed the ants are acting a bit weird, many moving to higher ground - without the ensuing storm. some people are predicting either a very big wet, or maybe a long drought, maybe till around february.
  2. Veggie Boy

    Veggie Boy Junior Member

    Oct 3, 2003
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    As you are probably already aware, it's always good to plant a legume as well as a more bulky green manure. Earlier this year I planted cow pea with Japanese millet. This seemed to do good things as intended. It may be too cold now for the Cow Pea (though I'm not sure of this). I know the Jap millet is OK in this weather - because unfortunatelly I let some of it seed and its coming up everywhere in my veg gardens. Broad bean is a winter leggume that is a usefull green manure crop. Make sure you innoculate your leggume seeds before planting. I have found that planting the seeds at closer intervals than recommended is also good for ensuring that they serve the purpose of blocking weeds out. This will be particularly important with broad bean, as you will find the recommended planting distance - even as a green manure crop - is quite large.

    Speak to green harvest - they have winter green manure packs available. Make sure you get the larger packs, they are much better value at about $20.

    I've been debating putting down a green manure crop in a couple of my beds - but have decided its a bit late to have them grow and dug in ready for spring planting. Instead I've just coverred the beds with sugar cane mulch in the interim.

    Good luck.
  3. Guest

    hi guys,
    as to the weather in brisie, my mum (an avid gardiner) has lived there for 60 years, even up to 15 years ago brissie always got frosts in winter, she always had a great citrus crop (and she only lives 8km from the CBD), little rain and god awful westerly winds in august. she believes things have become a little muddled over the last 15 years as we can all remember in summer there was always a terrific storm usually with hail at 2.30-3pm when she was picking us up from school. now u are lucky to even get one in that november/december period. however, she has decided that it seems the weather works in 20-30 year patterns (her father lived to 95yrs -as a qlder and he said the same thing) and the fact you are saying you are getting 'bad' frosts may be a good sign that you will get a wet summer......the ants have only ever gone mad if the rains are coming, check out the local trees (wattles,gums,bottlebrushes etc) if they flower profusely, it is likely u will not get much rain this year...if an ordinary flowering, lots of rain is likely.

    who am i to argue with close on 100years of living in SEqld.....

    cheers trish
    (ps, love hearing about brissie, makes me feel not so far from home here in Meeka.)
  4. Mont

    Mont Junior Member

    Nov 23, 2002
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    Green manure

    Humus, I got the following green manure seed mixes from a permaculture group at a garden expo: Cool Season Mix (plant March to June) - oats, woolly pod vetch, fenugreek, subclover. Warm Season Mix (plant September to November) - Japanese millet, cowpeas, buckwheat.
  5. Guest

    G'day all....

    Thought i would bite into this one.... not sure if i have mentioned this yet or not... but the problem with cover crops which is rarely mentioned is how much water they consume.

    Speaking to the farmers in this district... all are fans of it but have no water spare for them. They generally take more water than conventional crops (vegies, barely, oats, carrots, pumpkin etc) so therefore arent used, even though they are promoted by the DPI.

    However, one farmer swears by lucerne and uses it as part of its crop rotation. Even though its an American hybrid and only lasts for 4 years he says its wonderful for rotating for his carrots and beetroot crops. After questioning him (in the pub of course :lol: ) he said that he's had the lucerne nodules getting to as much as 15 feet!!!

    The big consideration though for lucerne is how long you let it grow b4 ploughing it in.... you will want a few years to get true effect.

    Hope this doesnt discourage you at all.... but water will be a major factor in your decisions i reckon.

    Good luck and let us know how you get on.


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