Visually Appealing Green Manures
I recently bought a house and I am trying to fix up the front yard. Around 5 years ago my yard was the most beautiful yard on the block(the neighbors tell me all the time), then the owners moved out of state and rented it out, the tenants destroyed it.
I killed the front lawn and tilled in about 3 inches of compost in the top 6 inches of soil. The soil was unbelievably compacted, I didn't actually see a single worm when tilling. I also had dug a 4 foot by 4 foot hole for a dry well to drain the water from my gutters away from my foundation and again I didn't run into any worms at all, just very compacted soil.
I want to try to break through this compacted soil and turn my soil into a paradise for the worms. So I have done some reading on green manures. If my neighbors wouldn't freak out I would grow alfalfa for two years :) but I am trying to not alienate my neighbors any more than I have to, so I am looking for some green manures that can be appealing or pass as a landscape.
I have done some reading on various green manures, some popular ones are Buckwheat, Clovers, Vetch, Rape, etc. I am concerned that these won't look to appealing and I will get complaints to the city.
I have a bit of optimism about the following as green manures that look appealing:
Black Eyed Susan
What I am looking for are non traditional green manures that are easily killed by winter frosts, have good root growth and looks appealing.
My thoughts are that towards the border of my yard I will plant some taller green manures, maybe Sunflowers mixed with some Crimson Clover possibly with Buckwheat. Then in the center I would plant some Daikon Radish with some Yellow Sweet Clover and maybe some Annual Ryegrass.
I would do this for a year or two, basically until I can see that the soil food web is rebounding.