Tag Archives: winter tares

Over wintered green manures

Last season I sowed two different types of green manure as a trail to see which would over winter. I used Hungarian Grazing Rye and Winter Tares. The Rye is neutral in the crop rotation ans is said to harvest minerals in the soil due to its deep and extensive root system. This is the first time Winter Tares has been used in the garden. It is a legume so should fix nitrogen.

Click an image to enlarge

grazing_rye dugin_g-rye winter_tares winter_tares
Grazing Rye Grazing Rye
dug in
Winter Tares
February 2009
Winter tares
November 2008

The grazing rye performed very well and has come through the long cold spell unscathed. It is starting to put on growth now which is a real sign of its hardiness.

The winter tares did not tolerate the cold winter and has died back as can be seen from the comparison photographs above. There is still a covering on the bed but it is just about finished.

My overall conclusion is that both of these green manures is viable and both will tolerate the cold we get in the garden every year. This is out sixth winter and each year we have recorded at least -10c at 2m above ground. This year the frost was more persistent and the snow heavier.

The centre photograph shows a bed of grazing rye that was cut off, left to wilt for a week and then dug in. Do this a few weeks before sowing seeds as the roots exude a chemical that inhibits seed germination. This bed will be planted with onion sets in mid March.

Winter in the garden

The garden has a real feel of winter now. The leaf mould is made, around 30 heaped wheel barrows of leaves were deposited in the makeshift ‘container’ by my able assistant. Not sure how well it will it will rot down but at least it prevented a neighbour from burning great piles of leaves!

Some of the beds have been cultivated, manured or had compost added depending what is to be planted next season,  and then covered with their blankets.  Other beds have been sown with a green manure that should over winter. The main aim is to keep the rain off to stop soil compaction and nutrient leaching.

I used two varieties of green manure this year; Hungarian grazing rye and winter tares.  The rye was mostly eaten by the resident pheasants. They did not go for the tares  which means I’ll be using more of that next season. The trouble is that the grazing rye does a good job of mining nutrients from the deep clay and its long roots also break up the soil. Tares fixes nitrogen, provided the whole crop is incorporated, which is useful but not required on every bed so it’s a difficult choice.

There is not much left to do now excpet a general tidy up and order the seeds for next year. Just right for these cold dark days.