Mustard (Brassica alba) green crop

Green crops

Grow plants to feed other plants - not just yourself

From the largest vegetable farm to the smallest garden, it is important to rotate your crops and rest your soil.

Planting the same plants in the same place will eventually deplete the nutrients in the soil. In turn, this stunts plant growth and encourages pests and disease.

To prevent deterioration of your soil, a fallow period in which you grow ‘green crops’ will allow your soil to replenish. Green crops increase the number of beneficial organisms in the soil, improve soil fertility and control weeds. Areas of a vege garden that would otherwise be bare over winter can be planted with species such as mustard, alfalfa, buckwheat, ryegrass and lupins. While the crop is still green and before flowering, dig the plants into the soil to add organic matter and nutrients. Alternatively, green crops can be harvested and added to the compost heap.

Draw a map of your garden and keep a record of your crops to create a rotation plan.

Top image: Mustard (Brassica alba)