Sowing green manure

How to sow green manure

Find out how to protect, enrich and improve areas of bare soil by sowing green manure.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
To do
To do

Do not To do in January

Do not To do in February

Do not To do in March

Do not To do in April

Do not To do in May

Do To do in June

Do To do in July

Do To do in August

Do To do in September

Do To do in October

Do To do in November

Do not To do in December

Sowing a green manure on bare soil in autumn is a great way to improve its structure and fertility. It prevents nutrients from being washed out of bare soil, deters weeds from germinating and improves soil structure.

Sown directly, the resulting young leafy plants are later dug back into the soil in spring, giving it a boost.

In this clip from Gardeners’ World, Monty Don demonstrates how to sow grazing rye grass as a green manure, and explains how to use it to incorporate back into the soil:

Learn how to sow green manure in just three steps, below.


You Will Need

  • Green manure seed mix
  • Garden rake

Step 1

Measure the area and work out the sowing rate according to the packet instructions. If sowing several varieties together mix well for the best results.

Measuring the green manure mix
Measuring the green manure mix

Step 2

Scatter the seeds over prepared soil.

Sowing green manure seeds
Sowing green manure seeds

Step 3

Rake the seed lightly into the surface and protect from birds.

Raking the green manure seed into the soil
Raking the green manure seed into the soil

Top plants for green manure

  • Alfalfa (Medicago sativa)
  • Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum)
  • Red clover (Trifolium pratense)
  • Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum)
  • Grazing rye (Secale cereale)
  • Broad beans (Vicia faba)
  • Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum)
  • Mustard greens (Brassica juncea)
  • Phacelia
  • White clover (Trifolium repens)