Which plants for green manure: the plants to be used for autumn - winter and spring - summer green manure. The recommended combination and how to proceed with the burying.
The green manure it is an easy and natural cultivation practice, widely used in organic farming. There green manure technique consists in cultivating certain plants destined to be buried at the moment of their maximum development. Together with the vegetable mass, valuable nutritional elements able to increase the fertility of the soil will be buried in the soil.
Which plants to choose for green manure?
On this page we will give you all the useful information on the green manure technique, what advantages it brings and which plants to use.
Green manure, advantages
Thanks to green manure, the soil is enriched with organic substance, a very precious humus that improves soil fertility and structure.
Green manuring allows to increase the water reserves of drought soils, improve the physical structure of the most difficult soils. In addition, the practice of green manure protects the surface layers from washout and erosion and, if carried out with legumes, provides a good amount of nitrogen.
When can green manure be practiced?
It is practiced in the garden after the harvest of a main crop, when the soil appears exploited and tired or before a new sowing, precisely in order to enrich the soil.
It can also be used once a year as a green fertilizer, or to revitalize an uncultivated land to be used as a vegetable garden.
The best time forsow green manurefalls in autumn, however there is no shortage of practicesspring or summer green manure.
The sowing of plants for summer or spring green manure must be much more homogeneous and dense. The plants of the summer and spring green manure, in fact, unlike the winter and autumn ones, must compete with the weeds typical of spring and summer.
All information on sowing green manure is available on the page dedicated to the technique ofGreen manure in the vineyard. The same instructions for sowing and burying the plant mass can be applied to any crop and not just in viticulture.
How is green manuring done?
Once the plant or plants chosen for green manure have been sown, we proceed with some sporadic watering. Irrigation is not necessary in the case of autumn and winter green manuring.
At the beginning of flowering, when the plant mass is at its maximum consistency, mowing must be carried out. Attention, we proceed to mowing when the flowers are still closed.
For legumes but in general for all green manuring plants, the cut must be performed a few days before flowering, to prevent part of the nitrogen contained in the root system from being exploited to bring the seed to maturity.
In the case of preparatory green manure of a land intended for new cultivation, the green manure must be buried at least one month before sowing in order to allow the vegetable mass to decompose.
The cut plants must be buried almost immediately, you will only have to wait a couple of days to make them dehydrate: a slight withering of the plants is fine, but not drying, therefore it is preferable to avoid too long exposure times to air.
The burial depth must not exceed 10-15 cm, especially in the case of clayey soils, in order to avoid hindering the decomposition processes that require atmospheric oxygen.
Which plants for green manure
Given that almost all the plants chosen for green manure belong to three well-known families in the garden, legumes, crucifers and grasses, we show you a small useful list of the most suitable plants.
Legumes for green manure
Among the most important green manure legumes we have: field bean, incarnate clover, vetch, forage pea, sainfoin, lupine, soybean, sweet clover, plus some vegetables such as lentils, peas, beans and broad bean.
Vetch is also perfect for green manuring in mountain locations and for winter green manuring in harsher climates: this legume can withstand even -12 ° C.
Crucifers for green manure
Crucifers provide a large amount of plant mass, develop rapidly and allow for the assimilation of insoluble phosphorus present in the soil. They have a very deep tap root which is great for keeping the soil soft.
Among the crucifers suitable for green manuring we point out rapeseed (very resistant to cold), rapeseed and mustard (which has a short cycle but fears low temperatures).
Grasses for green manure
Grasses are usually used in association with legumes, because the combination is beneficial for both: the former protect the latter from the cold and the latter better tolerate the lack of water. Among the most frequent combinations we find that between oats and forage pea or that between oats and vetch.
The green manure plants of the grass family are: oats, rye, barley and sorghum.
Other plants for green manure
Another very common practice is thegreen manure with buckwheatwhich produces a lot of vegetation in a short time. The facelia also lends itself well to green manuring with a short cycle (40 - 60 days).
Which plants to use for green manure according to the season?
In agricultural consortia you can find very useful seed mixtures for practicing green manure in the different months of the year.
Lunar Council: according to the advice of biodynamic agriculture, the burying of green manure is carried out in the waning moon.
You might also be interested in
- Cruciferae: list and properties
- Dwarf clover: characteristics