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Green Manuring as an essential part of Organic Farming


Green manures, often known as cover crops, are plants which are grown to improve the structure, organic matter content and nutrient content of the soil. They are a cheap alternative to artificial fertilisers and can be used to complement animal manures.

Growing a green manure is not the same as simply growing a legume crop, such as beans, in a rotation. Green manures are usually dug into the soil when the plants are still young, before they produce any crop and often before they flower. They are grown for their green leafy material which is high in nutrients and provides soil cover. They can be grown together with crops or alone.

 

Green manures:

• Increase and recycle plant nutrients and organic matter

• Improve soil fertility

• Improve soil structure

• Improve the ability of the soil to hold water

• Control soil erosion

• Prevent weed growth

• Stop nutrients being washed out of the soil, for example, when the ground is not used between main crops.

 

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