We have mentioned green manure plants a number of times in our organic farming series. These are really useful helpers for gardeners, allowing you to increase yields and abandon chemical fertilizers. Let’s dwell on each green manure plant and study their features.
Siderata allow you to quickly, and most importantly, without much cost and effort to increase or restore soil fertility. Usually, such plants are sown in early spring, so that then their green tops are simply plowed into the ground. As a result, grasses saturate the soil with organic matter and help to get a more generous harvest. There are many green manure plants, let’s look at the most popular options.
Not only does this plant bloom very beautifully and can decorate any flower bed, lupine also perfectly accumulates nitrogen in the soil. This green manure is planted on poor soils, in particular, sandy. Lupine is usually sown in early spring and is an excellent precursor for strawberries and other plants that need nitrogen. But you can sow lupines in mid-August in the area from which potatoes or cabbage have already been removed.
This green manure is very important for crop rotation, the roots of white mustard are able to release organic acids, which begin to release hardly soluble phosphates in the soil. As a result, the potassium reserve in the soil is replenished, and the plants gain access to useful elements that were previously difficult to extract. In addition, white mustard suppresses all weeds and drives wireworms from the beds. It is due to this feature that this green manure is usually sown before potatoes. You will be surprised how noticeably the yield of potatoes planted after white mustard increases..
Remarkably loosens the soil due to the developed root system, increasing the air permeability of the soil. Phacelia grows on any soil, does not require a lot of light, it is not afraid of cold weather. This green manure is considered to be an excellent precursor for most vegetables. An important property of phacelia is the ability to attract beneficial insects with its nectar, which will destroy moths, apple blossom beetles, and leafworms on the site. In addition, the proximity to phacelia destroys nematodes, and locusts and wireworms will leave this area..
This plant is tasty and useful in itself, but as a green manure it has a number of useful properties. The main thing is that peas help to accumulate phosphorus and nitrogen in the soil, this will increase the productivity of plants planted after it. Peas ripen quickly, which allows them to be used to improve soil composition between planting of other crops. This green manure drains the soil, improves moisture and air permeability. In addition, in the area with peas, there are good conditions for the activity of worms and other beneficial microorganisms, which reduce the incidence of diseases and help to get a rich harvest. If planted tightly, peas will also suppress all weeds..
Perennial green manure with many useful properties. In the garden, it can be planted between trees, in the shade, and in the beds – in those areas where you do not plan to grow anything for two years to give the soil a rest. Clover saturates the soil with nitrogen and strengthens it. This is a melliferous plant; hay is actively used for livestock feed. Experts recommend mowing the clover before the buds bloom, which are very nitrogen rich. You can cut this perennial green manure in the spring, in May, when the bushes that are not afraid of frost will grow and start to bud. Within two weeks after embedding the green mass of clover in the soil, vegetable seedlings can be planted in this area.
A very valuable forage crop that has been growing in one place for several years. The roots of alfalfa can be up to three meters, so they perfectly loosen the ground. In addition, this green manure raises the level of phosphorus and nitrogen in the soil. Alfalfa repels nematodes, gets rid of weeds. As a green fertilizer, alfalfa is especially suitable for potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and berries, including gooseberries, cherries, strawberries and strawberries..
This is a very useful plant in itself, a honey plant; they even learned to make biodiesel from its seeds. But as a green manure, rape is primarily known for saturating the soil with sulfur and phosphorus, protecting the beds from diseases and pests, and inhibiting weeds. Rape is an excellent precursor for tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. You can plant it in August, in winter, for this, the winter variety is used, but there is also a spring.
Inexpensive, useful in itself and very popular siderat. Oats are usually sown in early spring, as soon as the soil is dry after the snow has melted. This green manure actively saturates the soil with potassium, therefore it becomes an excellent precursor for vegetables that are demanding on the presence of this useful element. Oats should be mowed while the shoots are young, they contain much more potassium. Oat roots help get rid of root rot, loosen the soil well. There will be no weeds in the area with oats.
This cereal, like all other green manures of this family, perfectly contributes to the suppression of weeds. Most often, winter rye is planted in order to cut off shoots in spring and use it as a green fertilizer for potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini, pumpkin, and cucumbers. Besides the fact that rye loosens the soil with roots, it inhibits nematodes and destroys pathogens of fungal diseases. The overgrown rye greens are usually not even crushed, completely embedded in the soil, which is enriched with potassium and nitrogen..
Finally, a few useful tips for using siderates:
- You cannot use crops that belong to the same family. For example, radish, cabbage, radish and daikon should not be planted after mustard and rapeseed. Cereals in this respect are more preferable green manures, since only corn can be attributed to them, and they are great for all vegetables..
- Mowing and plowing green manure should be at least two weeks before the next crops are planted..
- Green manure crops should be rotated so that the soil is not empty.
- It is best to cut green manures before they bloom and produce seeds. In this case, the plants will give more nutrients, and the area will not be clogged with seeds, which can lead to uncontrolled germination..
- Sometimes gardeners do not dig up green manure, but simply mow it, leaving it on the soil surface. In this case, holes for peppers, eggplants and tomatoes can be made right between the green manure.