Lupin’s Grand Finale (How To Finish A Greencrop)

lupin in

Greencrops are your soils secret weapon. How I love them, for the nourishing respite they bring our hardworking soils. They are an important regroup between crops because a greencrop is the only crop we grow where the whole thing is returned to the soil. When we harvest our dinner, we are in effect stealing from the soil. Greencrops are our chance to say thanks!, to give back.

Lupins

lupin

Nitrogen fixing lupins are what your soil needs in the lead up to a heavy feeding crop, reducing the amount of fertiliser required as well as adding organic matter = building humus and improving soil structure. Chop them down  just as they gear up to flower and you’ve got yourself a load of nitrogen rich material to add to the soil – just what a heavy feeder needs.

Give ’em The Chop

lupin is down

I wish my weedeater could handle lupins fibrous stalks, but alas it cannot!, so I use sharp seceteurs to chop them off at groundlevel. Go on! -it’s not hard (I heard you gasp!). Sharp hedge clippers, a scythe too I guess – will also do the job. Pile the lupin beside the bed as you go.

Soil Preps And Be A Smartypants

compost

Now’s the time to do whatever preps are needed to get the bed ready for the next crop – broadfork, compost, lime and the like.

Be a bit of a smarty pants and make a lovely pile of my easy peasy compost at the end of the bed, at the same time as sowing the lupin. Three months later when the lupin is cut down, the compost is ready too. Spread it on the bed after broadforking. No shovelling and wheelbarrowing required – it’s right there where you need it.

lupin mulch

Grand Finale! The lupin is spread on top as mulch. A wonderful cycle of give and take. And yes! You’ve grown your own mulch! How cool is that.

All that nitrogen rich material will melt into the soil – making you ready for some serious heavy feeder (in this case brassica) growing action.

 

 

Comments

  1. Sadly I have never managed to sprout a lupin yet. The odd oat yes. Mustard definitely, along with phacelia .. but never a lupin. I’m wondering is it birds/ mice …. or just me doing it wrong.

    • wow – how interesting! perhaps rodents? old seed? burying the seed too deep? Heres how – Prepare the bed (weed etc) then scatter sow the seed then chop it into the topsoil with a rake. Dont worry if bits of seed are still showing. Turn the rake over and use the flat end to firm the soil and get good soil contact for the seed. Lightly cover with mulch and cover with bird net – fool proof 🙂 Lupin is such a feisty thing. Good luck, Kath

  2. Hi Kath, Do you just leave the lupin roots in the ground to rot away on their own accord?

    • Yes Noelene! thats the one. All that nitrogen released from the nodules on the roots when the tops are cut – makes sense to leave them in dont you think. As well as all those wonderful airways + biology attached to the roots and a wonderful addition of carbon the to soils. So much goodness in those roots 🙂