Green manure is plants that are temporarily grown on unoccupied soil plots (in autumn – after harvesting and in spring – before planting garden crops). Siderata improves the structure of the soil, prevents the washing out and weathering of nutrients from it, suppresses the growth of weeds, and also enriches the soil with nitrogen.
The soil in the garden after harvesting should not remain open, since useful substances are weathered and washed out of it, it quickly overgrows with weeds, which in turn use useful substances from the soil. To prevent this from happening, experienced gardeners carry out greening.
Sideration – plants that are grown to restore soil fertility. In the second half of summer, green manure crops intensively consume water and nitrogen compounds dissolved in it, which contributes to the ripening of fruit wood, as a result of which their winter hardiness increases and the quality of fruits improves. Growing green manures in the aisles of the garden makes it easier to care for the soil.
As green manure crops, you can grow lupine, mustard, phacelia, vetch mixed with oats, seradella, winter rye, sowing them in July – August, if after harvesting (early potatoes, cabbage, or other crops) part of the plot is not used for re-crops or there is not enough manure to fertilize the garden and vegetable garden.
The effectiveness of green manure to a large extent depends on the correct selection of crops, soil preparation, and sowing time. On sandy loam soils, lupine is the best green manure crop. It is sown in the first half of July at the rate of 1.8-2 kg per 100 m2.
In the forest-steppe and Polesie, on all soils, as well as in the southern regions on irrigated areas, mustard, phacelia, peas, sorghum, vetch mixed with oats are sown. The seeding rate for mustard is 0.1-0.2 kg, phacelia – 0.15-0.2, vetch mixed with oats – 1.5 (1 + 0.5), sorghum – 2, peas – 1-1, 2 kg per 100 m2.
Features of green manure and their benefits
The main feature of green manure is the ability to quickly build up a lush green mass and form a powerful root system. Before flowering or immediately after the opening of the inflorescences, the plants are mown – by this time they have time to build up a weighty leaf cap. After mowing, the green mass is embedded in the soil: in this way, green manure will serve as an excellent fertilizer that helps restore soil fertility.
Their decayed shoots and foliage saturate the upper layers of the soil with a variety of nutrients (primarily nitrogen), which contribute to the active development and abundant fruiting of crops planted in this place. “Golden Grass” not only saturates the soil with humus but also improves the mechanical composition of the soil and protects it from erosion.
“nosy” roots of green manure also contribute. Breaking down all obstacles on their way, they quickly and effectively increase the air and moisture permeability of the top layer of the earth, which turns out to be especially valuable for owners of sites with heavy clay soil. On light sandy soil, highly branched lobes of green manure roots become a kind of frame, making it less crumbly and more water-absorbing.
The powerful roots of such plants are able to extract nutrients from the lower layers of the soil, which garden crops often cannot boast of. When we plant green manure in a garden bed, we return these valuable compounds to the ground and leave them as an affordable delicacy for cultivated plantings.
The ubiquitous weeds, due to their extraordinary activity, often endanger the health and life of many modest garden plants, but they are unable to compete with green manure crops. Mighty siderates create a dense shade and build up a strong root system, displacing weeds from the site.
Sowing dates for green manure
Sideral crops are sown on the site throughout the summer cottage season. However, at different times, herbs are chosen, the characteristics of which correspond to the situation.
In spring sowing, which is carried out at the earliest possible date, preference is given to cold-resistant crops (rapeseed, mustard, oats, rye, phacelia, etc.). It is not necessary to wait for flowering in this case: the grass is mowed and embedded in the soil when preparing the beds for planting.
Some summer residents use spring green manure grasses for additional protection of seedlings from return frost. To do this, holes are made among the thick grass, and seedlings are planted in them, and with the arrival of stable warming, the green manure is cut and laid out here, on the surface of the garden, turning it into mulch. Siderata can be used as additional insulation
Sowing in summer
Green manure grasses can be sown in the aisles of cultivated plants throughout the season. During the flowering period, many of them become excellent honey plants, attracting a large number of pollinating insects to the beds, and also suppress weeds. Some green manure helps to ward off the attack of pests and fungal diseases.
For example, by sowing a mixture of oats or barley with a legume in the aisles of potatoes, you can reduce the number of Colorado potato beetles and nematodes. If the tubers are harmed by wireworms, it is best to use a mixture of phacelia and mustard. But so that the siderates themselves do not have time to turn into green invaders, you need to have time to mow them before the seeds ripen.
Cabbage will thrive in collaboration with any legumes. In addition to supplying nitrogen, they will help protect her from wireworms and nematodes. But sowing cruciferous siderates next to cabbage is not worth it – they will attract common pests and increase the risk of fungal infections.
For all nightshades, the proximity of flax and calendula will be useful – they scare off the Colorado potato beetle. When a site is infected with a nematode, the first thing to remember is rye. Melilot and lupine will also clear the area of this pest, and also reduce the risk of root rot.
Phacelia will become reliable helpers in the fight against late blight, root rot, and wireworm. Will add resistance to rot and oats, the roots of which secrete compounds with fungicidal properties. Tagetes will be an excellent orderly: he will fight not only soil pests but also ground pests.
Many summer residents sow green manure as the harvest is being harvested and the beds are freed from the main crop, having time to spend 2 or more “revolutions” by the new season and thereby improving the quality of the soil in the garden. All that green manure grass needs is periodic watering during dry periods.
For summer and early autumn sowing, rapeseed, oil radish, rape, mustard, various legumes, as well as phacelia and buckwheat are suitable. For sowing in the second half of autumn (before winter), you can use cruciferous and legume siderates, as well as a variety of cereals. In this case, the green mass that has grown to the snow does not need to be mowed – it will act as a snow trap and protect the beds from severe freezing. Siderates sown before winter do not mow
Green manure crops will help to revive the soil depleted by constant exploitation. For this, the site is sown with perennial plants (perennial lupine, alfalfa, sweet clover, goat’s rue, perennial clover, etc.) and left to rest for several years. Annual crops can also be used. For example, my friend uses oats for this purpose. She waits for the ripening and subsidence of the grains, then mows the ground part and digs up the soil. After rain or watering, a fresh batch of seeds germinates quickly and gives a new green cap.
Novice gardeners often perceive the sowing of green manure as useless additional chores – you can’t get a harvest from them. But if you use this technique at least once, you will immediately understand that, on the contrary, it greatly facilitates summer cottage activities. Magic green manures miraculously transform the soil on the site, allowing you to save time and energy for its processing, and help to achieve a generous harvest.
I advise you to definitely make friends with green manure because this new friend will replace a dozen old garden helpers and become a reliable dacha companion. And if you are already familiar with siderates and use them on your site, share your impressions in the comments – your experience will inspire newbies with enthusiasm.