Green manure:benefits, which plants to use. Green manure of legumes and how to practice green manure in the vegetable garden. All useful information on the green fertilization technique.
Green manure, what is it
The green manure technique also called green fertilization, is a natural agricultural practice that involves the cultivation of some species of plants which are then not harvested but buried to enrich the soil. There green fertilization, consists in burying the plants which thus act as a natural fertilizer by releasing the nutrients they have previously absorbed into the soil. Then there are certain plants such as legumes that enrich the soil with nitrogen, favoring the natural fertilization of the soil.
Green manure, what is it for
Thegreen manureis a practice oforganic fertilization which consists in incorporating specific plants grown on the same soil into the soil.
The burying of green manure crops is carried out by plowing in large fields, in the garden of the house it is possible to bury the plants with a good dig.
What is green fertilization for? To fertilize the soil and improve its structure, bringing countless advantages. Among the advantages of green manuring we point out:
- It increases the softness of the soil and its ability to retain water without causing water stagnation.
- It helps biodiversity and, in particular, earthworms that enrich the soil with humus.
- Protects the soil from erosion.
- Limit the development of weeds.
- It enriches the soil with microelements, how? The plants, through the roots, absorb the micronutrients from the deeper layers of the soil and, with the burial of the plants, these are brought more to the surface and made available also for garden plants that do not have particularly deep roots.
- Create a large amount of organic matter.
- The temperature of the soil increases thanks to the fermentation of plant residues.
- It increases the nitrogen content of the soil, especially with the green manure of legumes.
As is clear, there are numerous advantages linked to the practice of green manuring. Green manuring is a low-cost technique, easy to practice in the garden.
How to practice green manure in the vegetable garden
- Once the plants are sown for the green cultivation, it is necessary to wet them regularly and bring them to almost complete development, also performing the mowing if necessary.
- In the case of legumes, it is necessary to intervene before the flowers develop, so as not to reduce the amount of nitrogen that otherwise is used to bring the seeds to maturity.
- The plants must then be buried when they are slightly wilted but not dry, therefore a few hours of detachment will be sufficient, between mowing and burial.
- The burying period is at least one month before sowing the new plants, the time it takes for the nutrients to disperse in that part of the soil.
- Furthermore, it is not necessary to bury deeply: a few cm are sufficient, of the order of 10 or 15.
Which plants to grow for green manure
The plants most suitable forgreen cultivationthey are legumes, crucifers and grasses. In any case, for green fertilization, it is always recommended to use a mixture of seeds with comparable germination times. The effects of a seed mixture for green manure is more appreciable than a monoculture. For more info: Summer green manure plants.
Green manure of legumes
Among the most common legumes, which as previously mentioned serve to enrich the soil with nitrogen, we mention the field bean, the incarnate clover, the lupine, the lentil, and the pea, in addition to the classic bean.
- Forage pea
- Fava beans
It is possible to use both half-branched peas (garden peas) and forage peas. Lupins are valued for their deep roots, they are able to bring nutrients to the surface.
Green manure of crucifers
Crucifers, on the other hand, are used when a large amount of vegetable mass is needed and in a short time. Among the best known are rapeseed and mustard, both of which are fast growing.
Mustard can also be paired with horseradish, both of which increase the amount of sulfur in the soil. Even the garden raven can be used for green cultivation.
Crucifers are very useful for controlling parasitic fungi and nematodes.
Green manure of grasses
Grasses are widely used in combination with legumes, among the most classic combinations we find oats and vetch or oats and pea.
All grasses contain phosphorus which they then release into the soil.
The ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum) is widely used in the open field while oats, barley, wheat and rye are more suitable for the home garden.
Other green manure plants
In addition to the three families listed above, there are other plants suitable forgreen fertilization. These plants are indicated for their root systems that penetrate the soil deeply. Which plants for green manure, to combine with the previous ones:
- Swiss chard
When to green manure
The practice of green cultivation it can be used when in thevegetable garden the main crop has already taken place or between one sowing and another. The practice ofgreen cultivation it should coincide with the rest period of the soil, before the preparation of the seedbed. This is an excellent technique for enriching the soil with nutrients.
There green cultivation it is also very suitable for the recovery of uncultivated land that must be transformed into a cultivation. In addition, many plants for green cultivation are fast growing, so in a short time, the soil will be reinvigorated and ready for new crops. Green cultivation can bespring, autumn or summer.
Green manure in the vineyard
Autumn is the best time for sowing plants to be planted in spring. In the vineyard we proceed after the harvest. For all information: green manure in the vineyard.
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- Cruciferae: list and properties