Clear green manure crops planted last autumn to cover soil over winter, like winter tares, field beans, or winter rye. These useful cover crops are invaluable in the veg garden, where they break up heavy soil and add nutrients to benefit your veg throughout the season.
Useful cover crops
About four weeks before you need the area for growing, get to work clearing them away to make room for your veg. Shear off the top growth close to the ground, and cart it off to the compost bin to enrich your heap with leafy green nitrogen-rich goodness. Then work your way across the bed with a fork, lifting the green manure roots in clumps and turning them right over to bury the top growth completely.
Rake the newly-exposed soil and leave to settle for a few weeks before sowing. You can use green manures through summer too if you have areas of the veg garden you know are going to stay empty. Summer green manures, like buckwheat, red clover and phacelia, are on sale right now from our seed racks at the garden centre in Reading. They’ll cover the soil in no time, stopping rain leaching the goodness out; once you’re ready to cultivate the ground again, just treat as above.