BLUE LUPINS work best in my garden: they germinate reliably, grow through the winter months, look good, and are easily cut down with a sickle, slasher or sharp shovel. A scythe in skilful hands would also do the job well – we have tried the ride-on mower but results were mixed due to soft ground.
When the lupins are cut down in late winter, we add a layer of horse manure and then cover the lot with black plastic. The worms and microbes move in, the matter breaks down and when a late spring or early summer crop such as corn or pumpkins is due to go in, the soil is weed-free, friable and ready, yet another instance of planning well ahead for the best results.
Other options that work well as winter cover crops include vetches, subclover, medics, field peas, tick beans, ryecorn, triticale, oats, barley, and wheat.