Slow painting

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Green manure


For the first time I was organised enough to sow a green manure. Organisation didn't extend to some crops that I meant to sow, but life's been busy. The shot above is of the two rows of field beans that have been the most vigorous crop on the plot this summer. Taken on 2 August, compare it with the shot below, taken on 19 July.


The bean flowers have been hugely attractive to bees and flying insects in general.


The thing now of course is that I need to cut them down before the flowers set seed, and we're about to go away shortly for a few days. There may be some vigorous hoeing in store for me next year, but at least I've done something to start enriching the soil. We seem to have been making compost forever, and have only used half a bin full so far. But because this summer has been so wet the soil has remained rich, warm and soft, like coffee grounds rather than dried out to a lumpy hardness.

With several rows of new potatoes now lifted, I decided to sow another green manure, this time crimson clover. I've been looking for manures that will please the bees as well as doing my soil good. Here's the area I sowed with clover on 3 August, broadcasting it in what I fondly imagined was a competent medieval peasant style. We'll see what happens!


At the left of the shot you can just catch a glimpse of the utter failure of the green pea crop. I think I sowed too late, or kept the young plants hanging on in their cardboard tubes too long, or... it was just one of these things. Pity, because I was looking forward to fresh green peas. I would never buy them fresh in pods from a supermarket, because they're less fresh than the frozen variety, for an exorbitant price. But green peas eaten straight from the plant are better than any sweets.

8 comments:

donna said...

The last time I ate peas straight from the plant was when I was a kid and I still remember the sweet, delicious taste. Regarding your beautiful bean flowers...I'm attracted to them like your bees are. So very pretty.

Amanda said...

Is it worth sowing an autumn crop of peas? I'm trying that this year, as I got very few peas from the spring sowing.

Love the idea of a competent medieval peasant. I'm picturing you in some sort of smock while you sowed the clover...

Denise said...

I envy you this growing your own veggies. I remember the ones my Dad used to have in his garden. I loved the taste of his pole beans and have never tasted anything better, and also so much fun picking the peas. Nothing like the taste of your home-grown veggies is there?

June said...

I have determined to try a green manure. It makes me so nervous. I'm so happy to see your success! It looks beautiful.

Peggy said...

Ann who has a lavender farm in New Zealand has left you some advice on lavender on the post.

Karen - An Artist's Garden said...

Shame about your peas, its funny how things grow well one year, and are then rubbish the next.

I am going to sow green manure this autumn / winter too.

Simon Lee said...

Peas (and broad beans) have been a roaring success this summer in the northern wilds. But starting them off in cardboard tubes? Nae lass - chuck straight in!

Mmm - green manure - one of those odd little mysteries - perhaps I should try it.

Kilauea Poetry said...

Thanks for stopping in with your warm comments on my blog. I really enjoy the feedback..means a lot-
Your garden looks good and nice when it can attract healthy insects. I decided to get a garden in back in May after being out of it for a couple years. Well, I got as far as flowers! Terrible..but I love it. I plan on being ready for the next long growing season! Anyway- have a relaxing Sunday-