Birdsfoot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus), also known as 'Eggs and Bacon plant' is a low growing green manure that has excellent weed-suppressing properties. It is good at fixing nitrogen and if allowed to flower encourages bees & beneficial insects to the area which in turn pollinate veg crops.
Birdsfoot Trefoil is great for interplanting taller crops that have open canopies like beans, tomatoes, potatoes, sweetcorn & especially long-standing brassicas which overwinter. It is however mainly grown as a summer green manure to help against weed suppression and retain soil moisture.
The benefits of intersowing:
- Retains soil moisture during the summer
- Suppresses weed growth
- Provides a haven for pollinators
- Shelter for a myriad of insects
- A green manure after the main crop - just leave it to overwinter and the frosts will knock it back leaving a layer of mulch on the surface!
Birdsfoot Trefoil can be sown between March to August by broadcast sowing just before or as the main crop is establishing e.g. sweetcorn should be at least 15cm tall before sowing trefoil so it does not compete with the seedlings at an early stage. To aid germination keep the soil moist.
When the veg crop has been harvested, either combine Birdsfoot Trefoil into the soil (15-18cm deep) or leave over winter to protect the soil. It is not generally sown to overwinter but is winter hardy. It is part of the legume family for crop rotation purposes.
Birdsfoot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) is found on a wide range of soil types and is extremely adaptable making it a perfect general-purpose meadow plant for the wildflower garden.
Birdsfoot trefoil will attract bees and is an important food plant for the common blue butterfly. Flowers appear in early summer.
RHS Perfect for Pollinators.
The RHS Perfect for Pollinators mark is only given to plants that support pollinating insects in gardens. Bees, butterflies, moths, hoverflies and many others visit flowers to feed on nectar and pollen; while doing so they transfer pollen and increase seed set and fruit development.
Need Some Help On Green Manure?
Then we have 2 invaluable resources on our website that will provide the answers to all of your Green Manure questions:
1. A Beginners Guide that covers everything you ever wanted to know about Green Manure in 5 quick and simple steps - read it [HERE]
2. How To Choose Which Green Manure To Sow...a summary of all the Green Manures showing which soil types, plant families, and benefits that each Green Manure can bring to your veg patch or allotment - read it [HERE]
Birdsfoot Trefoil Green Manure Seed Information
|When to Sow:
||March to August.
||3 months up to 3 years if overwintering
Grows to a height of c.20-30cm
||Copes with light dry soils, preferably not acid.
|How to Sow:
||Remove weeds especially perennials, rake the soil and broadcast seed at a rate of 5g per sqm. Rake into a depth of 1cm, firm soil and lightly water in.
||The green manure should be cut down before flowering when the stems are nice and soft as they decompose quicker, retain more beneficial nutrients and are easier to incorporate into the soil. They can be dug into the soil by turning over into the top 15cms or left on the top as a mulch, the worms will drag down the organic matter and help to aerate the soil.
||5 grams per square metre.
|Pack Weight / Area:
When to Sow Birdsfoot Trefoil Green Manure Seeds
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