With the rising costs of fertilizer and soil improvement additives many small farmers and gardeners are resorting to cheaper ways to fertilize their crops along with improving the soil content. And one really great way to do this is by using what is called green manures. Basically the term just means the planting and turning over of certain crops. There are many benefits to using green manures and I wanted to take the time and share some of those with you.
The 1st great benefit to using green manures or a cover crop as many call them is that you use less fertilizer. In order to have top quality soil one must keep and add certain elements back into the soil and green manures are just the thing! By growing a green manure crop and then turning it under you literally can cut your fertilizer bill in half. And this accelerates the natural process of soil building.
The 2nd reason to use green manures is you will also cut down on nitrogen purchases. Clover for instance has been planted in gardens and fields for centuries and tilled under because of it’s ability to absorb nitrogen from the air. Alfalfa is also a terrific choice for nitrogen producer since it can add 200 pounds of nitrogen per acre!
The 3rd great benefit to using green manures is to stop those pesky weeds! I personally prefer to find an easier way to keep down the weeds growing in my gardens so why not use a green manure. Believe it or not but bean plants or pea plants can be an excellent choice for this. When you till the soil to get ready to plant your green manure crop well you expose those weed seeds that were waiting for the opportune time to start growing and oh they will. Well at the same time your green manure seeds that you sow will also begin to grow and quickly crowd out the weeds. Do this a few times and you will easily cut down on the weed population in your garden.
4th reason is to improve the life of your soil by adding a lush environment for small organisms such as earthworms to thrive. Most don’t know it but earthworms are worth their weight in gold when it come to gardening. Worm castings, which you get after the earthworms have broken down the organic matter in the soil area, are extremely rich in nutrients some folks say it’s the best fertilizer known to man!
And the they also help with erosion too!
Well there you have it guys, reasons to grow a green manure crop in your garden this year!
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