A DIY Greencrop Seed Mix

phacelia and marigold greencrop

Greencrops (also called greenmanures) are awesome! Diversity, homegrown fertility + living mulch all in one.

  • Use them to restore soils after a heavy feeder – you use less compost this way
  • Sow them beneath/ beside bigger crops like broccoli, pumpkin or beans, as a life giving, living mulch
  • Use them for a quick, handy gap filler when time is short. The very best soil fertility comes when our soil is kept covered with plants.

Take your greencropping next level, and rather than sowing single greencrops, sow a mixture. Each plant attracts different soil organisms, draws different minerals and reaches different depths. The greater the variety of plants = the greater the variety of soil life. Huzzah! Improve your soil with this one simple thing – a mixed greencrop!

Gather a seasonally appropriate selection of greencrop seeds. Either mix them together in a jar and then sow, or sprinkle lightly one at a time, oversowing with each different type. To make a cool brew, choose:

  • 1 or 2 nitrogen fixers: clover, lupin, broadbeans, peas, soya beans or vetch.
  • A tap root: daikon, borage, dandelion, parsley or chicory to open and mine โ€“ especially beneficial for clay soils.
  • A grass: oats, barley, wheat or rye to mop up the nitrogen and stabilise soil.
  • A soil cleanser: mustard, marigold, kale or radish
  • A flower: phacelia, buckwheat or calendula
  • A mineral powerhouse eg: buckwheat, dandelion, chamomile or borage

Having a good supply of seed means that as soon as a gap appears you can quickly fill it before nature gets in with the weeds.

A good basic kit to have at hand is: mustard, lupin, crimson clover, oats, phacelia, daikon, borage, buckwheat and calendula.

Greencrops can be sown in even the tiniest of gaps. Get used to jostling crops, greencrops and flowers together – plants love to grow in community. This jostle does take management though. Wander the garden regularly and chop and drop excess growth, ensuring the crops recieve the light + air they need.

Sow a living mulch beneath finishing brassicas

Purple sprouting broccolli provides a huge amount of tasty sprouts

As a winter project, have a go at sowing a mixed greencrop beneath soon to finish brassicas. Choose a few winter-friendly greenmanures like lupin, peas, broadbeans, mustard, rye, oats, phacelia or calendula.

Create light and space by snapping off the lower ratty brassica foliage, then clear any weeds. Scatter sow the greencrop seed at their feet. Sprinkle a little soil/ compost + mulch on top. Gently water, if your soil is dry.

When the greencrop is up and running, cut the brassicas off at soil level, leaving those wonderful roots in play. The roots are oh so good for our soils my friends โ€“ especially heavy clay or sand who need all the roots they can get.

This sets up a cycle of continuous groundcover – the next crop can be planted amongst the greencrop before it finishes. No more bare ground! No more garden downtime! Less weeds + fertility stays steady = a garden in flow.


  1. Jeremy Denmead says


    Thanks again for good advice. I was wondering if you or any of the readers know where to buy bulk (say in 1kg amounts) supplies of the ingredients for your greencrop mixture?

  2. hi Kath, I’ve always thought of grass and clover as weeds and pull them out any chance I get before they take hold / seed. purposely sewing them is something I’m struggling with! could I omit these from the green crop mix and sew things like lupin, peas, Broadbean, mustard and borage. also do you semply cut them down when you want to plant your next crop? I’m thinking of sewing under brassicas until I’m ready for spring vege to go out. Tauranga based.

    • Oh yes Alana – DIY greencrop – you choose exactly what goes in there! Ease into change ๐Ÿ™‚
      Hop onto the search bar of the website with how to finish a greencrop – find all the details there.

  3. Hello Kath, Firstly thank you very much for all you do to get the good growing message out there. Not only do you make the information and knowledge accessible, you also make it inspiring !

    I have a large area that I want to make into a productive growing area. [ i have your book btw which is very helpful ]. The area was basically a wasteland behind the house. I wasn’t quite sure how to get started but after reading your article about green manures, I think it could be goos idea to sow the whole thing in green manure.

    My question is this: I live just south of Christchurch and am wondering if it is ok to sow anything at this time of year? Would the varieties you suggest grow if I sow them now?

    Thank you, Rose

    • Awesome Rose – brilliant to turn a wasteland into production! Are you going to lay plastic or some such to clear the area first? No matter what you sow, the trick is to ensure it enjoys your current conditions. Local garden groups or neighbours are an awesome resource for this. Stick to cold tolerant green manures/crops like mustard, peas, broadbeans, rye, lupin, oats …. check out Kings seeds in their field crop section, they have a few pre mixes. Such a good beginning!

      • Thanks Kath
        for your generosity in replying to the many questions you receive and thanks for answering mine. That is really helpful. I will go ahead and order some of those plants :~)

  4. Hi Kath, thank you for all the knowledge and passion you share with your very helpful blogs and books! It is so greatly appreciated and is a fantastic help and guide on my journey.

    I saw you mention that you normally get all these cover crops from King seeds. I am hoping to grow soya beans, which King seeds no longer stock. Do you happen to know of anywhere else to get the seeds from?

    From what I have seen, as a cover crop most oats are black – not the common white oats that we eat. Do you know if you can eat the black oats? Or where you can get white oats from?

    Thank you, Kerryn ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hey Kerryn, great to see you stretching out into all the fun stuff but sorry to say I dont know where else stocks them at the mo. – I’ll have to leave it to you to hunt them down! Enjoy K

  5. Thanks for your reply Kath. I’ve managed to find some Soya Bean seeds from Egmont Seeds – so am excited to give them a go this year ๐Ÿ™‚