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Soil fertility using Green Manure or cover crops

May 13, 2010

Green Manure or  Cover croping is one of the techniques I use to build my soil fertility. I also add compost, fertalizer, and sheet compost my beds that I don't cover crop.Over the last few days I have been turning in my cover crops also known as green manure

 Green manure is a cover crop that covers the soil and adds nutrients and organic
matter to your soil. We plant Austrian peas or vetch in the fall to fix nitrogen and oats or rye to add cellulose and organic matter. In the spring we roto till 2 weeks before we want to make beds and plant. I am a little late this year do to cold stormy weather in Northern CA and I must admit a short journey to the Amazon. The green manure adds nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium as well as some trace elements.
Green manure has many benefits for your soil; it adds nutrients and organic matter and it keeps your soil covered for the winter. Exposed soil tends to wash away in the winter and the nutrients are leeched out by the rains. The cover crops are not as concentrated as manure or some of the other soil fertilizers but have the added benefit of adding organic matter. You can also plant summer cover crops in any areas that you are not planting durring the growing season. For summer cover crops I use soy beans and buck wheat. For more information on soil building visit

Cover crops, compost and Vermiculture or earthworms are all great soil builders.

Cover Crop


great information - here in tropical australia I did a cover crop this last summer - wet season, when it is so difficult to grow anything. I planted pigeon peas, and innoculated the seeds. They grow very high and I have now used the plants as a trellis for my cucumbers. I just cut back the leafy tops when I need more sunshine! My first adventure into green manure and I am hooked!
Is 2 weeks enough time for green to be turned before planting seeds? I understand that honeybees like buckwheat & that you can plant everytwo weeks, all summer long if you like. I have been trying to find pigeon peas in the U.S.A.

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