What is green manure? How to apply it in fields? Best green manure for organic farming

What is green manure? How to apply it in fields? Best green manure for organic farming

Introduction

If you are a farmer or have some experience of farming or you are an academic student and wanted to do organic farming in the future as many highly educated people are doing, then you may be heard somewhere about GREEN MANURE.  Green manuring is a very important step in soil preparation.


I have seen many people who have little knowledge about it but due to lack of guidance, they do not apply it practically in their fields. If you are one of them then you have approached the right platform. 


In this article, I will give you an in-depth analysis of green manure from a scientific perspective.

This holistic discussion will help you to decide whether you should put green manure in your field or not. And I can guarantee you that after reading this you won’t need any other guide and you will be able to start your organic farming just after it ☺️.


Let’s start..

What is green manure?


Green manure is organic matter from green plants which provides required nutrition like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to soil and increase its fertility. 


What is Science behind green manuring?


Some plants such as leguminous plants have some specific bacterias in their roots. For example.

Rhizobium, which lives in a symbiotic relationship with the plants and fixes atmospheric nitrogen into organic compounds.  This enhances the nitrogen availability in the soil and hence very good alternative or chemical fertilizers like urea.


Apart from this leaves of green manure have a high amount of potassium which increases the mineral content of the soil. 

What are the characteristics of crops that could be used for green manure?

A good green crop have following features

  • Have high organic content
  • Have the ability to fix more nitrogen in soil like leguminous plants
  • It must have a short duration, grow fast 
  • high nutrient accumulation ability
  • High shade tolerance 
  • Tolerance for flood, drought, and adverse temperatures.
  • Easy to adapt ecology
  • High water use efficiency
  • Early-onset of biological nitrogen fixation
  • High N accumulation rates
  • Timely release of nutrients
  • crop does not have a High dependency on the availability of sun rays
  • Crops must produce seeds in a high amount
  • Variety should be Pest and disease resistant
  • High nitrogen sinking capabilities

Type of green manuring

Green manure can be of two types based on its source.

In-situ green manuring

In this technique manuring crops are grown on the field and after they achieve a sufficient height they cut and plow on the same field. After plowing fields are left for a few weeks until they completely decomposed. After decomposition new crops are grown on the same field.

Green leaves manuring

In this manuring, technique crops are not Grow on the field, instead, green leaves and dried brown leaves brought from nearby sources. It can be forest, lawns, farms, or any other source.
After bringing those leaves they stored left for few weeks. When they become decomposed and turned into organic matter, spread on the field. 

What is the Best time for green manuring?


Green manuring is usually done before sowing a new crop. If you are using in-situ green manuring, beat time for cutting the plants is When they flower 🙂.

Because during flowering phosphorus content in plant increase significantly. This will increase the fertility and quality of the soil. And you will able to get more harvest from the same crop.

What are the best green manuring crops?

Choose the right crops for green manuring is very important.

You should follow the same process that you would follow if when you start gym and choose the right diet. Without a proper diet, your body can deform. similarly, if you choose the wrong green manure crop, it could be harmful.

Best green manure crops for cold climates (north America, Europe, Central Asia, etc)

Regions after tropic cancer and tropic of Capricorn receive very little sunlight. Due to this reason, the optimum temperature for the decomposition of green matter is also lacking,

Thus, you need those plants which can easily decompose and also provide more fertility in a short span of time. So, after considering the above conditions you can grow the following crops as a green manure:-

  • Winter field beans, like fava beans
  • lupins and fenugreek sweet peas can also be beneficial
  • Clovers, like red or crimson clover being the best as it dies down
  • Buckwheat and Phacelia corn salad and miner’s salad (Claytonia) are also used
  • You can also try mustard, but they pose some difficulties during digging.

What are best green manure for tropical climate?

Tropical climate usually found in those countries which are located near equatorial and between tropic of Cancer and tropic of Capricorn. These are the countries who receive maximum sun’s energy. Due to this reason decomposition process can easily happen here.

So considering the above fact and also according to availability of seeds of green manure crops locally, you can use following crops.

  • Sesbania aculeata (scientific name)
  • sesbania rostrata (scientific name)
  • crotarelia juncia (scientific name)
  • cluster beans
  • cowpea

So these are some green manure crops that can increase the fertility of your land to the next level and increase your earnings significantly.

If you have still any doubt feel free to contact me.