How to Sow a Greencrop

Last week Helen wrote me asking (among other things), how to sow a greencrop. How remiss of me to have never written this up – given as I adore greencrops to bits. So thanks for reminding me Helen – this one’s for you.

Preparing to sow a lupin greencrop at Ediblebackyard

First up we must ready our ground. Chop down old crops and the rest, at the roots. Roughly is fine, ironing it out isn’t required. I’ve just harvested the no dig potatoes from this bed so needed to smooth the little piles of compost out. And because the worst thing you can do to soil is leave it bare and vulnerable, I’m sowing the greencrop right away.

Sow lupin seed generously

Scatter sow the seed over top of the soil. Be generous and please don’t try to evenly space those wobbly balls. We want a wild thicket.

tamp down on top of seed for good soil contact

Good soil contact makes a difference. No matter what seed you sow give it a reassuring pat with your hands to connect it well with its new home. In the case of a whole bed, you can pat away all day with your hands, or do as I do, and tamp it down with the flat end of your nail rake. If your soil is dry then give it a good sprinkle. My soil is perfectly moist so I can skip this step today.

Buckwheat, meadowsweet, yarrow homemade mulch

A lovely layer of mulch is all you need now. Sprinkle it on top of the seed in a thickness that disappears the seed from sight, same as you’d do were you covering it with soil. Bear in mind if its freshly harvested like my home made mulch, it’ll shrink pretty smartly.

This beautiful brew is buckwheat, yarrow, meadowsweet, parsley and dandelion, and took me all of five minutes to collect from my herbal border. Free, 100% organic and bursting with nutrients – the Queen of all mulches. Toss a birdnet over top.

shadecoth taken off the newly sprouted greencrop - ready to go it alone without protection

In the absence of mulch or presence of birds, peg shadecloth or hessian on top the seed and leave it there as long as poss – it’ll keep growing! Peel it away once the crop is up and away.


  1. John Wilkinson says

    I went to buy some lupin seed one day – the garden center did not have the Blue Lupin I want so I ended up with some white lupin seed. The seeds were white, large, round and flat, about 20mm across.
    When they stared growing the birds just loved eating the young sprouts as they made their appearance. Netting is to recommended ! Cheers.

    • Thats great advice John! I’ve never grown the white lupin. If you buy online will supply high quality blue lupin. 1kg bag is about $8.

      • Helen Hancox says

        I got mine from Kingss.
        I prepared the soil just like this, put the seed into a wide mouth bottle to make strewing it about the ground easy. Didn’t press it down but did mulch with a bale of pea straw which had grown Lebanese cucumbers in it. I did create a magnificent gown of netting to cover it and avoid birds. Now to make a dung heap beside it.
        Thanks Kath