Courgette time
Friday, June 5, 2009 at 21:22
martian77 in Garden

Not eating, not yet. But time to get them planted out, finally.

The quarter that I've been saving for them has been growing green manure for the last few months, and looked like this:

Green manure

That's mostly red clover (which is what's flowering), mixed with some trefoil and the self-seeded marigolds and what californian poppy managed to escape my weeding! I kind of had a few aims for the green manure here. I wanted it to fix nitrogen in my lousy soil for a hungry plant like courgettes. I also wanted it to cover the nice compost I put on the bed and protect it from the weather. And I wanted to provide shelter for the soil life. I think that lot will have done that quite well. I'm using the green manure slightly differently than the books suggest though. I'm sort of treating it as a cut and come again crop, using the green tops to fill my compost bin. I read somewhere that if you do take the tops off the roots shed their nodules of nitrogen too, so it seems like a reasonable plan. I'm hoping that the clover and trefoil come back and grow as underplanting. It's worth a try.

I did have a twinge of guilt cutting it all down though. Not really for the plants... But the bees were loving it!

Buzz buzz on a red thing

In the end I decided I could afford to leave most of the marigolds and a tiny strip of the clover flowers. The finished thing looked a bit messy, but the courgette plants seem to be doing well. And when I cut all that green back, I got to clear out all the snails that were living in it. The courgette plants (bearing in mind that last year I lost 2 out of 3 plants to snail damage) have barely been touched!

After the chop

There's two courgette plants and a butternut squash in that bed. I'm having real trouble getting any more butternut squash seed to germinate - I've nearly run out through trying! I may have to buy one... There's also a lot of marigolds (which I used to make marigold fairy cakes yesterday - photos to follow), and the lettuces I sowed before Christmas and have been providing good amounts of lettuce for at least 2, maybe 3 months now. Closest to the camera is a sunflower. Hooray for growing stuff!

Article originally appeared on Life on Mars (http://www.martiandaze.net/).
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