For the best vegetables use well-rotted compost to add nutrients and texture to your soil, promoting greater worm activity and better growing conditions.
Rotate your crops to get the best soil yield and to keep down pest and disease levels.
Grow green manures, crops that can be turned back into the soil, to provide a natural fertiliser. In this process quick growing crops like mustard are grown and turned in just before the planting or sowing of the main crop occurs. alfalfa, broad beans, lupins and red clover are among the nitrogen-fixing green manures.
Bacteria on the roots of these plants turn nitrogen gas into forms that other plants can use. Non-nitrogen fixing types of manure include buckwheat (for acidic soils), black oats (good in winter), comfrey (have nutritious leaves) and Mustard which is the most popular of all green manures. An excellent weed suppressant, mustard grows quickly, can be sown at any time, and is best dug in before flowering.
First-timers might like to follow our green manure suggestion of using blue lupin as a nitrogen additive; otherwise, use mustard as a good soil conditioner in spring and summer, changing to black oats in the autumn.