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By: organicfarmingblog , 7:19 AM GMT on April 30, 2014
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Ancient Greece and China recognized the importance of green manure and has been practicing it for more than two thousand years. It was introduced to North America by colonists coming from Europe.
Leaving your soil unattended and open to the elements will cause it to dry and erode. One way to prevent this is to practice green manure planting. If it sounds new to you, well, it is basically the process of growing certain plant and then being dug into the soil to improve its nutrient and quality for the next crop. Green manure also improves the soil texture, the topsoil depth and its capacity in holding water. One other benefit is that weeds will find it difficult to set in simply because the green manure has already covered the ground.
Growing green manure may seem difficult, but actually it’s not. It is even very cheap when you save the seed you gather every year. Besides it gives you a good daily exercise! Before rolling up your sleeves and start getting dirty, you have to know some equally important things like the types of green manure to use and the planting season.
There are two types of green manures, one is called Legumes – which grabs nitrogen in the atmosphere by its roots and the Non-legumes – which are all the other regular green manures. Whichever you choose will depend on the soil and the season you plan to grow like for winter and spring.
The best time to plant green manure is when the rain is about to come in order to keep your planted seeds moist during germination. Spread the seed evenly and rake the soil back, making sure that the seeds are covered well for germination and protected from birds. When it is three months old, till or mow them down before they start seeding and eventually becoming weeds, just let them decompose in the soil.
Cover crops give the same benefits to the soil just like common composting but it’s far better. It can fertilize large acres of land cheaper and easier. Just imagine hauling and spreading tons of compost. You cannot eat compost but the produce of some cover plants like peas and beans can be eaten. Green manure attracts good insects. It assists in controlling diseases in the soil and even from nearby plants. Roots of certain legumes can supply acres of topsoil with tons of atmospheric nitrogen after they are mowed down. Regular compost can do none of these.
There you have it, whether as a living or a decaying plant, green manure works for you!
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