Back in November we sowed broad beans and green manure. The Bandstand Beds are pretty exposed but it’s always good to grow crops over winter to protect soil structure. Today the green manure was cut down to wilt and we’ll cover this with a mulch of Clapham Common green waste compost next week. There’s about a third of the pile left from the March compost giveaway – you can also help yourself! This is to top up the volume of the soil and bring more nutrients ready for our squash and bean planting in May. Oh, that will be fun, and think back to the first of April out on the windy Common.
In the featured image you see vetches, from the pea and bean family, which adds the major nutrient nitrogen to the soil, so helping subsequent crops to produce lush foliage. This family captures nitrogen from the air via the bacteria (good bacteria) that create nodules around its roots. Squash and beans are hungry and will need every bit of nitrogen.
The frothy plant (left) is mustard, which makes a good green manure because it makes a good deal of green matter to incorporate into the soil. Green manures make ‘bio-available’ nutrients once they rot and humify – extra good for our plants.
Broad beans (some varieties) are hardy enough to germinate in late autumn and grow over winter. ‘Super Aquadulce’ has done us proud and flower buds are emerging. They were tied to their bamboo stakes today – a figure of eight between the stick and the plant and tied with a secure (but easily released) bow in soft sisal string. We should have baby beans to eat at our June 2nd Big Lunch Picnic – hope to see you there!