Monthly Archives: March 2012

Digging in the rye

Planted: potatoes, main crop (Rooster)

Seeds sowed: peas, herbs

We’ve just cut the winter rye grass that we sowed last autumn in three of the beds, prior to digging it in once it’s dried. Rye grass helps to protect the soil from erosion during winter and its extensive root system is adept at dredging up the minerals that otherwise would be washed away by winter rains. Rye is particularly good at lifting the nitrates in the soil and releasing them slowly (once dug in) to the following crop.

Rye can be combined with Red Clover as clover is brilliant at collecting nitrogen but when dug in it rapidly decomposes and quickly releases the nitrogen. This is great for nitrogen hungry crops like brasssicas that are planted straight after but by combining with Italian Rye the rate of release is slower even up to 6 months later. (A ratio of ¾ Italian Rye to ¼ Red Clover is recommended). Red Clover also has excellent ground cover and weed suppressing properties to help smother weeds. Note:  Red Clover is part of the Legume family for crop rotation purposes.



Digging and sowing

Seeds sowed: cabbage, poppy, organic lettuce.

I’ve been digging over the area west of the shed that we left uncultivated last year.  With dry weather, I’m making good progress, with the blueberries (overshadowed in the cage last year by the raspberries) moved to deep beds, along with strawberries and the rather battered rhubarb.

I’ve also constructed a flower bed in the vacant space behind the greenhouse, using some slabs of York stone that were lying around.  The plan is to plant this with some bee-attracting herbs.  Next door, in another empty space is a small bed which we’ve planted with sweet peas.