Green Manure - What Is it and How Can it Work for Your Vegetable Garden
Green manure is any plant or developing grass cover that is temporarily grown so that it can be dug into the soil as fertilizer.
Simple isn’t it?
Additionally, grass grown in one area is sometimes mowed and their clippings are dug into the soil of another site. This also falls under the category.
So What is It Good For? How Can Your Backyard Vegetable Garden or Organic Garden Gain from this?
Well, it saves a lot of energy. That’s because it requires less digging.
When preparing the soil with well-rotted manure you are required to dig it in thoroughly. However with green manure you simply allow the grass to grow and then cover them with an old heavy carpet.
This blocks out the sunlight causing the grass to die and decompose into the soil.
Thus there is less effort on your part to get the job done.
Additionally, this manure is faster to obtain and prepare than animal manure.
You see, with animal manure you must compost it properly to avoid contamination. This can take an entire year. But with green manuring, the grass can be grown within 6 weeks and then be dug in.
Isn’t this a whole lot faster? Of course it is.
And if you need another reason to get into green manuring then know this…
This type of manure suppresses weeds. By covering empty plots of land with grass that will be used as manure…you’ll be stifling the growth of weeds. Especially perennial weeds that are more difficult to get out of the vegetable garden.
Simply grow the grass on the soil. Stifle out the weeds and then use cut the grass to use mulch.
You’ll end up with a bare plot of land that is well fertilized, weed free and ready for sowing. How good is that?
Finally…green manuring protects the soil during the winter months. Plants that can survive the harsh winter act like shields between the snow and the ground.
Thus the soil and the micro-organism in it get more protection from the frost and cold.
So Which Grass is Great For Green Manuring?
Well, in the short-term you can grow the following…
- Phacelia, and…
However if you’ve got a plot of land that you intend to use next year…then you’ll need a longer lasting crop for green manure. Such as…
- Winter Beans
- Red Clover
With these long-term plants you would be required to cut them back every so often. This ensures that they’re kept under control. You don’t want them growing wild and spreading.
Whenever you get into green manuring remember this important tip…
…Never let the plants flower or go to seeds. If this happens then the plants looses all the nutrients it has been storing. That’s the same nutrients that you’re hoping to dig into the soil one day.
If this looks like the case (i.e. the plants are about to flower)…simply chop off the top of the plants. This stops any flowering or developing of seeds.
So now that you know all about green manures, I hope you give it a try.
Do remember the benefits your vegetable garden receives by your decision are to begin green growing. These benefits make gardening vegetables a whole lot quicker and easier.
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