Green crops are also known as cover crops or manure crops and are grown for the nutrients and organic matter that they give back to the soil. This is a natural method of soil maintenance that will boost and replace nutrients and encourage earthworms and other micro-organisms. These crops are also a way of adding rich organic matter to the soil and helping to stop the soil compacting during winter. Most people plant green crops in early autumn to replenish the garden for spring planting.
The most common types of green crops are:
Plant the green crop when it is raining because it is essential the seed does not dry out when germinating. You know the crop is ready to be dug into the soil when it flowers in late winter-early spring, but note that the stems should still be soft and watery. Chop the foliage off near the ground and dig it into the first 15cm of soil. An alternative method is to leave the foliage on the garden and then cover it with a layer of compost. By adding Blood & Bone Fertiliser or animal manure you will speed up the breakdown of the crop, but wait at least three weeks after digging in the crop before planting the next crop of spring vegetables.
Whichever green crop you choose they are a good cheap way to add organic nutrients to your soil.