Cover crop

Jane’s favourite

NZ Lifestyle Block - - In Jane's Garden -

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.

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