Today I used the bargain plants I bought last week.
My local nursery were selling Begonia semperflorens and geraniums at a cost of £2, for a tray of 15 plants. I bought three trays of Begonia’s and one tray of geraniums. I also bought three dahlia’s for £1.00 each. So that was an amazing bargain of 63 bedding plants for just £9! I was obviously very pleased with this.
Today I set about using the plants. I planted some at my allotment and the others I used to make up my hanging baskets and pots. My back garden has been a bit negleted lately and these have really cheered the place up. You can see them on the slide show below:
Today at my allotment I sowed some ‘green manure’ on three of my empty beds. The beds had my shallots in last week and they are now drying in my greenhouse ready for storing and pickling.
A green manure is a plant that is grown to benefit the soil. Farmers have used green manures for centuries to improve soils. It improves the fertility and soil structure. It helps to open up heavy soils and improve drainage and in light soils the green manure acts like a sponge and stops the moisture from draining away.
Green manures can also be used to help stop the nutrients from washing out of the soil in heavy rain, as they hold on to the nutrients through their roots. Some green manures fix nitrogen in the soil as well, ready for the next crop you plant.
Green manures are usually used on bare patches of soil that are not going to be used for a while, but it can also be used between widely spaced plants, e.g. sweetcorn, to stop weed growth.
Green manures are good for predators that control pests, as they are a welcome habitat for them. Frogs and beetles enjoy the damp, cool ground underneath it.
Some flying pests can be confused by green manures. If you let it flower near to your crops e.g. under planting brassica’s with ‘trefoil’, this will help to deter cabbage root fly.
When you dig in green manures, it stimulates the activity of microscopic creatures that consume the decomposing foliage, which helps to have a healthy soil, which is good for the plants.
As an organic gardener I pay a lot of attention to feeding the soil rather than feeding the plant, as a healthy soil produces healthy plants.
One thing that needs to be taken into consideration, is that as a green manure foliage decomposes, it releases compounds that can inhibit the germination of small seeds, so it’s best to leave it for a while before sowing. This does have it’s good side, as it also inhibits weed seeds too.
The green manure I chose today is ‘phacelia’, you can see it in my slide show above.
‘Phacelia tanacetifolia’ is good for sowing between March and September and it takes between one and three months to grow depending on growing conditions.
It is a green manure that tolerates most soils, which is why I chose it as I have a heavy clay soil.
If you leave phacelia to flower, it is a beautiful lavender colour that the bees absolutely love, which is why I have put it in my wildflower area. The one drawback is that if you leave it to flower it self seeds like mad.
As I am sowing it as a green manure, I will chop it down and fork it in before it flowers, so it doesn’t grow and become a weed to me next year.
Tonight I roasted the patty pans that I picked yesterday, together with a couple of homegrown onions and homegrown frozen parsnips from the winter. I just put a spray of oil olive on the baking tray and on top of the vegetables and they were really tasty. You can see them in my slide show above.
I served these with pork chops, homegrown potatoes, swede, cabbage and peas. The only thing I paid for was the pork chops. Therefore this was another frugal meal and the homegrown, organic vegetables always taste so nice.
It’s money saving to ‘grow your own’, but also living well for less.
I hope you enjoyed reading todays post.
Tomorrow on ‘Bump the Blog’, I will be featuring another blog that I particularly like.
Hope to see you then.