Sunday, December 19, 2010

green finger tips - green manure

Alfalfa/ Lucerne in this photo.

What is green manure

Green manures are crops that are grown to help the soil to fix nutrients. Food for the soil is vital to good plant growth. When nutrients are missing from the soil, plants will become infected with pests, viruses and bacteria.

Green manure gives the soil health

Keeping the soil healthy is incredibly important for successful companion planting in an organic garden. Green manure crops provide the nutrients the soil needs. You can scatter seeds of plants like clover and alfalfa to fix nitrogen in the soil. Nitrogen is vital to keep plants leaves from yellowing.

How to use green manure

When the plants are starting to go to seed, you can pull out or cut back the green manure plants. Mulch the green manure crops right where you have grown it. It will then feed the soil with the vital ingredients for successful growth.

What plants can I use for green manure

Plants like Alfalfa (Lucerne) pictured above, is a great Nitrogen Fixing plant. It has the added bonus that is regrows after it has been cut back and this can be done several times.

Comfrey and Lupins help to add Phosphorous to the soil. Certain herbs, like Lovage and Golden Rod can be used as green manure crops to improve the soil. Hyssop helps to fight bacterial infections.

Green manure effectively improves soil

Growing green manure crops is a sensible and cost effective way of improving the soil and creating mulch. here is a list of useful plants for fixing soil

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