What is the crop with blue/purple flowers

16 Replies

Have seen quite a few fields with crops producing really pretty blue/purple flowers - just out of interest does anyone know what it is?

Featured Classified


orme-384975 1321116853

Flax? There is a lot of linen production here in France.

ChrisB391-416474 1321117194


Will be plowed in as a 'green' manure

orme-384975 1321118012

Is it anything like this?

Beautiful - some of the farmers near us grow it.

brocante-432555 1321118030

Phacelia,used to put nitrates into the soil and ploughed in during the spring

brocante-432555 1321118139

That's flax Orme-lovely photo

batlands 1321119223

There are quite a few fields of phacelia in flower round by us at the moment.

It's a fantastic green manure plant. I have plants growing all year round here and there in the garden, then I just pick off ripe seed heads when I need to plant more beds up - when I've harvested the veg. It'll germinate almost any time of year, and will smother most weeds. The bees love it in the summer, and you can either dig it in, or it's excellent on the compost heap if you operate a no-dig veg garden. It pulls up very easily, and the soil below is in perfect condition, doesn't really need digging. I wouldn't be without it - it might not be the best green manure for feeding the soil (I'm no scientist, I'm not sure of that sort of detail), but I find it the most versatile, easiest to use, and one of the prettiest.


cidre 1321119567

The blue/purple flowers in the fields now is Statice. What they do with it I am not sure, but they probably plough it into the ground as a type of fertiliser. It appears as a dried flower and lasts for ages.

cidre 1321119937

Sorry...Phacelia! Not Statice.

jendean 1321120485

Called Phacelie here same thing yes super green manure plant, suppresses weeds, feeds the soil for next year, bees love it and it looks so pretty, what more can you ask for!!

boomers28 1321121911

Its definetly Phacilia , as farmers are no longer allowed to leave the fields barren it is planted to withdraw the "azotes/nitrates" from the ground to prevent them being washed into the ground water ways , It dies on its own with the first frost and you just plow it in in the spring . its a pretty plant but a very expensive solution for the farmers as it has to be machine drilled . we have planted 35 hcts this year

ar bleiz 1321123011

Sounds ideal, anyone know where you can buy the seeds?

kathyd28 1321123232

That's interesting Boomers28 - I thought lots of green manures (although not Phacelia) were intended to put nitrates back INTO the ground, not to withdraw them?? Or is that only for individuals, and not for farmers? I've planted Phacelia this time in my new raised beds to protect the soil over the winter, and also to help condition it in the spring when I dig it in, but in the future I was planning to plant different green manures specifically to raise nitrate levels - is this the wrong thing to do?

onelove 1321125328

Phacelia tanacetifolia A quick growing green manure such as phacelia can be grown after an early crop is harvested. It is not related to any vegetable plants so again it is easy to fit in without spoiling a crop rotation

  • Legumes, such as winter field beans (like fava beans), lupins and fenugreek which fix nitrogen into the roots (as long as they are dug in before flowering when the nitrogen is lost). Other peas and beans, such as sweet peas, can also be used. I have used winter field beans very successfully when planting a late green manure since they will even grow when temperatures are starting to take a dive during mid-autumn.

  • Clovers, red or crimson clover being the best as it dies down, also in the legume family.

  • Winter tares, also known as vetches, are also winter-hardy but like rye they can be difficult to dig in. Again, part of the legume family so they fix nitrogen into the soil.

  • Rye, such as Hungarian grazing rye, will grow well at low temperatures but can be difficult to dig in and get rid of.

  • Mustards, can be very effective but, as they are part of the brassica family, they can interfere with your crop rotation.

  • Buckwheat and Phacelia are both excellent at attracting beneficial insects and are easily dug in.

  • Winter-hardy salad crops, such as corn salad and miner’s salad (Claytonia) are easily dug in once used and can provide some extra salad leaves while growing.

  • Others which are not normally regarded as green manures can also do a great job. Poached-egg plant (Limnanthes Douglassii) is a great example – bright flowers, grows well over winter and digs in easily. I regularly plant this in my garden and leave a few to flower to attract hoverflies.

lucy quipment 1321127937

I have seen it for sale in Point Vert and Mag. Vert. Quite cheap and in small(ish ) boxes. We also got some in a box of meadow seed from Lidl!!!
Bon courage,
The Cap.

Ripley-in-exile 1321184734

It's the first year that I have noticed it?

Join the discussion