Every nature lover knows that we have to give back to the land what we have taken from it. Green manures are excellent in this case, because in addition to developping organic matter to the soil, they protect the soil and improve its structure.
The main benefits of green fertilizers are:
• Supplying organic matter, nitrogen and minerals, for the next season of plants.
Breaking the weed cycle by occupying the spaces where weeds might grow. Many green manures can grow and outcompete noxious weeds, effectively replacing them.
Improving soil structure. Well-developed root systems of most green manure mixes build the soil structure, for better porosity, enhancing water retention...
An excellent addition to the diversity of crop rotations. Certain green manures (phacelia, buckwheat, grasses) belong to families that are not closely related to the common vegetables grown, which provides a tool to break many disease and pest cycles.
Protecting the soil surface during periods of erosion and harsh weather. A bare soil does not live well, and green manure also stimulates microbial life in the soil.
Green manure can be ground and spread on the soil, incorporated in the compost, or lightly incorporated in the soil. It can be cut from down and dries up at the surface of the soil, or threshed green and mixed with the first layer of soil.
Keep the following considerations in mind:
• Cutting the Crop: the best time to harvest green manure is often at the flowering stage. An earlier incorporation is also possible if prioritizing the nitrogen supply. If harvested later, the carbon supply will be more significant. In all cases, always cut the crop before seed formation in order to avoid it invading the next culture.
• Decomposition: The decomposition should be well-developed to avoid inhibiting the germination and growth of the successive season.
Wait 2 weeks to 3 months between the soil incorporation and the successive sowing (varies depending on the quantity of the organic matter, sun exposure, temperature, etc.).