Grow your own soil! Green crops are grown to build up the soil, rather than to eat (though some can also be eaten.) Any bare patch could be growing useful stuff.
Depending on your situation, green crops can be grown for as little as two weeks, or left to almost flower, or left to go to seed. Before flowering they mainly contain nitrogen; after flowering, it’s predominantly carbon.
Three ways to use green crops:
How to grow green manure crops:
square metre is a rough guide)
Which green manures to use?
Flowering Green crops: Buckwheat (summer), calendula (all year), borage (winter-spring), lupins (winter). These help feed bees and beneficial insects.
Edible Green crops: Broad beans (winter), mustard (winter-spring) Peas (peastraw).
Summer Green crops: Buckwheat, calendula, peas, sweet peas.
Winter Green crops: Broad beans, mustard, lupin, wheat.
Legumes for fixing nitrogen (good before heavy feeders): Broad beans, lupin (cool season); Peas, soy bean (warm season).
Carbon crops for compost: Buckwheat, barley, oats, wheat, sunflower.
Green crop perennials and shrubs for shelter (harvest the prunings for mulch): Tagasaste (tree lucerne), tree lupin, canna.
The Council Green Gardener is available for waterwise garden advice.
Workshops are free for groups of five or more.
To make a booking, call 04 296 4700 or email: