If you don’t intend growing vegetables on all of your vegetable patch overwinter, don’t leave areas bare because they will become filled with weeds and heavy rains will damage the soil – destroying the structure of heavy soil, clay and washing nutrients from light sandy soils. You can help protect your soil and improve its structure and fertility by growing a short term green manure instead. To get a good cover of greenery before the onset of winter sow as soon as the soil becomes vacant. Clover and grazing rye can be sown now for digging in during the spring. Green manures can be either sown in rows like regular vegetables of broadcast sown like grass seed, then raked into the soil surface. You can dig in the green manures anytime provided you leave a month before you need the ground for the next crop, but don’t let the green manure flower and set seed because it will become an unwanted weed problem. Good green manure plants include: buck wheat, clover, fenugreek, grazing rye, mustard, trefoil and winter field beans.