Summer-grown green manures such as buckwheat and fenugreek form dense foliage that will effectively suppress weeds.
Green manures belonging to the pea and bean family (legumes) have the additional capacity of storing (fixing) nitrogen from the air to their root nodules, but only in summer. Nitrogen is a valuable plant nutrient.
Other benefits of green manures include protection of the soil surface from compaction by rain and shelter for beneficial insects such as ground beetles.
- Sow seeds in rows, or broadcast them across the soil and rake into the surface
- Once the land is needed for cropping, chop the foliage down and leave it to wilt
- Dig the plants and foliage into the top 25cm (10in) of soil After digging in, the site should be left for two weeks or more before sowing or planting out as decaying green materials can hamper plant growth