Green Manure

A green manure crop is one that can be grown over a season when the bed is not in use, often fall and winter, and later tilled into the soil to improve the fertility. A green manure crop grown over fall and winter also prevents the soil from eroding and compaction when not in use.

A cover crop should be tilled under about a month before you plant your garden. This presents a problem for gardeners in areas where the soil is wet in early spring. In these regions, plant your cover crop early so that it can be tilled under in late fall to decompose over winter. The damage done by working wet soil outweighs the benefits of the green manure.

Before planting, clean up the garden area and remove all crop debris. Rake the soil to remove clumps, and sow the seeds when rain is expected.

Where to Buy Green Manure Seeds

Cover Crop
When to Sow
When to Turn Under
Aliske clover
(Trifolium hybridum)
spring or fall summer or spring
Crimson clover
(Trifolium incarnatum)
spring or fall fall or spring
Hairy Vetch
(Vicia villosa)
spring or fall fallor spring
(Glycine max)
spring or summer summer or fall
White Sweetclover
(Melilotus alba)
any time any time
Yellow Sweetclover
(Melilotus officinalis)
any time any time
Fagopyrum esculentum)
late spring or summer summer or fall
(Avena sativa)
spring or fall spring, summer or fall
(Brassica napus)
spring or summer summer or fall
Sudan grass
(Sorghum vulgare
var. sudanense)
late spring or summer summer or fall
Winter rye
(Secale cereale)
fall spring

See Also...

The earth neither grows old or wears out if it is dunged.
- Columella, circa 45 A.D.

The Art of Gardening

The Art of Gardening "Beautifully illustrated and practical Are you ready to take your garden from good to great? Learn how to build your soil...and more!


Greenhouse Plans

What's New?

Discover how to easily build an attractive and affordable greenhouse that will grow anything in any conditions. Also, building your own greenhouse just makes economical sense. You can build a greenhouse at just a fraction of the cost of buying a pre-built one. Most pre-built greenhouse you buy need to be assembled anyway, you are really just paying hugely inflated prices for the material.

Click Here!



Organic Gardening
Tip of the Day

Plant Search:

Natural Resources

Living With Bugs

The Natural Handyman

Great Books

Growing, Older A Chronicle of Death, Life, and Vegetables

Growing, Older A Chronicle of Death, Life, and Vegetables


Chelsea Green Publishing - the leading publisher of sustainable living books since 1985.