Sowing Crimson Clover and Rye


A couple of weeks ago I sowed a green manure in the beds that were empty. I chose Crimson Clover because in the Spring I had seen some that was flowering in an allotment near our local school. It was beautiful. It had long, nodding fluffy heads of the most amazing red wine colour. When I saw it, I thought, my garden could do with some of that in the Spring time. And so here it is.


And boy does it grow fast! I’m assuming it grows quickly now, and then slows right down during the colder months only to spring back into action later. I do hope so otherwise my whole garden will be Crimson Clover pretty soon!

I’m actively trying to ‘put my garden to bed’ this Winter instead of just leaving the soil open to wash away with the rain and grow weeds. Having lush green growth at this time of year certainly beats bare empty soil.

Crimson Clover will germinate pretty easily now while it’s relatively warm but if you want to sow some green manure later in the season Rye Grass will germinate at lower temperatures. I’ve sown some of that too but it has yet to appear. I have heard that Rye Grass is difficult to dig in as it re-sprouts quite easily. I’ll keep and eye on that and report back.

But I really like the idea of using plants to improve the soil. It seems like the natural thing to do. I don’t know about you but I simply can’t make compost in the quantities needed to cover my whole kitchen garden so I need another way to improve my soil that’s easy and cheap.

4 Comments on “Sowing Crimson Clover and Rye

  1. I did this a few years ago. Bought a few POUNDS of clover. It has been the worse thing I ever did to myself. I failed to get it turned over properly or maybe on time? Something went wrong and a few flowers happened. I thought, no big deal.

    I am working with an irregular garden that goes around my home and yard, a few raised beds etc. I now have this redish clover “weed” that blooms yellow flowers self seeding EVERYWHERE! omg it is the worse thing to get rid of. The way the roots grow and spread makes it extremely difficult to remove. I wish I could turn back time….

  2. I had a bit of a nightmare with green manure last year as well. I sowed a mixed selection, but ended up with what I assume was rye grass. I tried to dig it in three (back-breaking) times, but it just kept growing. In the end I had to go over the whole area and pull it up. If I was going to do it again I would try field beans I think.

  3. I was wondering whether it would be difficult to dig in, or whether it would take hold. The previous two comments seem to prove that thought. I’ll stick to horse manure which I have in abundance! Be interested to see how things go next year. Good luck!

  4. I think Tree may have purchased incorrect seed. Crimson clover is an overwintering annual, one that won’t become a perennial.

    If there is a dry spell in February, it is a good time to dig the clover into the soil and to let it rot completely before planting or sowing.

    In any case, turn the clover under by May.