What should I do if the strength of the soil gradually faded, it became less fertile, and the harvest was poor? Is it possible to introduce chemical fertilizers into the ground? These substances are completely unsafe for humans and the taste of crops will suffer.
This article will tell you how to safely and simply increase soil fertility.
What is green manure?
Green manure is a kind of green fertilizer. These are plants that many gardeners plant on their plots. These plants are not used for food, they do not have a decorative function, but they perform a more important mission-they enrich the soil. On the green manure, a few people know and few people use them. And very much in vain, because these plants are the most valuable fertilizer.
Why grow green fertilizers?
Siderates are grown for the purpose of enriching the soil with nitrogen and trace elements, recovery after the summer season. At the end of summer, the soil is very weak, because for several months it gave all its strength to crops and plants.
The name of green manure is translated from Latin as “a star receiving power from the sky”. No wonder these plants are so named because they literally revive the soil and make it more fertile.
The cover crop has two major functions:
- improve and enrich the chemical and mechanical composition of the soil
- supply it with additional nutrients
Siderates are plants that quickly gain strength in the green mass. The use of these green manure crops can significantly reduce the cost of purchased fertilizers and increase the yield.
Why do I need to grow green manure?
These plants can be called doctors of the garden. They can significantly improve the quality of the crop and increase its quantity. How exactly do they work?
- Siderates have powerful and strong root systems that loosen the soil.
- This increases aeration and water absorption.
- Prevent the growth and development of weeds.
- They are a source of humus and other nutrients for the soil: potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen.
- These substances are very important for soil fertility and rainwater can’t wash them away and wind can’t blow them away.
- Protect the soil from erosion (wind blowing). Also, do not allow meltwater to wash away the soil in the spring.
- Due to its bright color, it attracts useful animals and insects (frogs, toads, ground beetles). They eat pests.
- Protect the ground surface from the scorching sun rays.
Which plant should I choose as green manure?
A common feature of all green manure is that they are fast-growing. Annual legumes are often used as siderite. They have a very powerful aboveground part and have phytosanitary properties. You can also plant cereals. They can boast of fast growth and frost resistance. Another great option is cruciferous or compound flowers.
it saturates the soil with organic substances and elements and loosens it, slows down the growth and development of weeds, protects planting from wireworm. A distinctive feature of this plant is that its root system is very large, can reach a meter in length. After cutting the above-ground part of the plant, the root roots, and forms channels through which oxygen and water penetrate deep into the soil.
Most often, sowing is done in early-mid-September, after harvest. You can plant mustard in the spring, a month before planting potatoes.
Phacelia as a green manure
This plant saturates the soil with organic elements and loosens it. Phacelia is a very unpretentious plant, it is not afraid of natural disasters and temperature fluctuations. You can sow it several times per season.
In terms of soil, oats are completely unpretentious. However, it is afraid of the cold during milk maturity. During the flowering period, it does not tolerate heat. The only condition is that oats are very demanding to water, they like well-moistened soil. Sowing is carried out in late March-early April. Oats are used to enriching the soil with minerals before sowing the main cover crops.
This abundant flowering plant is used for sandy and podzolic soil. Even hard-to-reach elements of the soil, such as too hard lumps of earth, can be processed by lupine. The plant is suitable for soil with high acidity. It normalizes the pH level of the soil and makes it favorable for planting strawberries.
In addition to the fact that this green manure saturates the soil with minerals and nitrogen, it also attracts bees. Clover can be sown directly on the beds, between the main plants. One crop will last for three years.
The plant belongs to the legume family and has the ability to collect nitrogen in the soil. This green manure crop is unpretentious in terms of humidity and temperature-it grows both in dry ground and in cold weather. This siderite is suitable for sandy and clay soils but does not grow well in acidic and too moist soil.
Vetch as a green manure
is a source of a huge amount of nitrogen, as well as all representatives of its family. Perfectly fights weeds, interferes with their growth and development. Suitable for potatoes protect plantings from slugs and snails.
It is preferable to sow this green manure crops in September-October. The soil in which this plant was planted is excellent for growing cabbage or seedlings. Vika does not like dry and acidic soils.
Rye, cultivated or sown
Rye is an excellent means of fighting nematode vectors and fungal diseases. It fertilizes the soil not only with organic elements but also saturates it with nitrogen and potassium. Thanks to a well-developed root system, it displaces weeds and loosens the soil. Rye is not afraid of frost, is unpretentious to the structure and composition of the soil. Its only drawback is a very powerful and strong root system. Remove the roots with a shovel or pitchfork will not work, they can only be developed by mechanized methods.
Rapeseed crops are real healers for the earth. Culture makes the soil healthier, enriches it with organic substances, supplies it with phosphorus and sulfur. However, rapeseed is a whimsical crop. He likes clay and loamy soil. It is afraid of large-sized areas, where slugs startup, for which rapeseed crops are tasty prey.
When to sow green manure?
It is very important to choose the right time for planting green fertilizers because each plant needs to be planted in certain months.
Spring sowing mustard and phacelia are suitable for spring sowing. They begin to sprout after the frost stops. When the time comes to sow the main crop, the green manures will have to be removed. There are three ways to do this:
The simplest, but less effective way. You just need to dig up the soil along with green fertilizer and plant the main crop.
For this method, you need to use a flat cutter. The green mass of plants is removed by sinking the blade of the flat cutter a few centimeters into the ground. The above-ground part is laid between the rows of the main crop.
This method is the most labor-intensive, but also the best. Before sowing the main crop, you do not need to remove the green manure plants. You should grow them together for about a month. After that, carefully cut off the green part of the green manure with scissors, retreating from the ground by about 2 inches. Next, lay the cut leaves between the rows of the main crop. After a while, the green mass of plants will appear again, it must also be cut and laid.
Sowing in summer
This method is suitable if you do not plan to grow crops on this site this season. Sometimes it is worth carrying out such plantings and giving the soil rest for one season. During summer sowing, timely mowing of green manure is important. It is important to prevent the formation of buds. The fact is that the plant gives all the power to the buds, and this is not the effect that is needed. Young leaves are well suited for fertilizing the soil.
Sowing in autumn mustard and rye are suitable for this type of sowing. They should be sown after harvesting vegetable crops. This usually happens in late August or early September.
In the spring, the plants should be cut with pliers and put the above-ground part on the ground or in compost.
How to dig in the green manure?
Many gardeners believe that the best way to use green fertilizers is simply to dig up the soil with them. But this is not the case. Experts believe that with this method of instilling plants, the soil structure is disrupted and useful microorganisms necessary for the main crops disappear. Instead, you need to cut the green part of the plants with a flat cutter, deepening it into the ground by several centimeters. Put the shoots on top of the soil and preferably sprinkle with mulch on top. This will help to avoid drying out the greenery and will contribute to its rotting. The roots will create a favorable microclimate inside the soil. Thanks to worms and microorganisms, they will rot, supplying the soil with nitrogen.
When autumn pruning, the above-ground part of the cover crops is also laid on the soil. Snow covers the leaves, in winter they rot and in spring it turns out excellent loose, fertile soil.
Which green manure is suitable for which crops?
it is important to consider the compatibility of the green manure and the main crop. After all, not every green fertilizer is suitable for a particular plant. If you choose it incorrectly, you can greatly harm the plant and not get the desired crop.
Cover crop for cucumber
In cucumbers, the roots are not developed in length, but in width. That is, plants will not be able to get minerals from the deep layers of the soil. For cucumbers, the following green manures are ideal:
- cereals (wheat, barley, oats)
- legumes (vetch, peas, clover, chickpeas, lupine, alfalfa, sweet clover)
- cruciferous (mustard, rapeseed)
Try to sow one of these plants between the rows of cucumbers. You will be pleasantly surprised by their taste and quantity of harvest!
Green manure crops for potatoes
Potatoes grow well in almost every gardener. This is a very unpretentious culture. However, potato tops are indispensable prey for many harmful insects. The main task of green manure is to prevent the appearance of pests. Ideally, the following plants will cope with this task:
- flax (flax)
- legumes (lupine, beans, clover, peas, beans)
- borage (phacelia)
- cruciferous (rapeseed, radish, mustard)
It is important to note that the best companion for potatoes is not a monoculture, but a mix of plants. For example, a mixture of barley or oats with peas is an excellent fertilizer for a potato field.
Green manure crops for tomatoes
The main task of green fertilizers for nightshade is to make the soil loose, enrich it with minerals and nitrogen, and reduce the growth and number of weeds. Universal phacelia will perfectly cope with this task. Its leaves rot very quickly, providing the soil with fertilizer, and the tandem of its flowers with red tomatoes looks very beautiful in the garden.
These crops are also suitable for tomatoes:
- cereals (oats, rye, wheat)
- cruciferous and legumes
In order to harvest a large crop of delicious cabbage, it is necessary that the soil is rich in oxygen. Lupine, peas, sweet clover, clover, and alfalfa will do a great job with this task. Also, these crops are a repellent for pests. Wireworm and other harmful insects are afraid of these green plants like fire.
Green manure crop is an excellent means of increasing the quality and quantity of the crop. However, as with any business, fertilizing the garden with green manure should be approached wisely. You need to choose the plants that are suitable for each crop, sow them at the right time, and cultivate them correctly. But if you follow all the rules, the result will amaze any gardener.