A little on green manures

Falani and Naia with cattle

Falani and Naia visiting the cows!

Good morning fine folks, happy Sunday!
 
Beautiful sunshine continues to invigorate us, although the plants are not fooled as they are still in slow growth mode!
 
Spring bed preparations have been on the agenda this week.
Turning in green manure crops and allowing them to decompose in time for bed making and spring plantings!
 
Green manure!!??? What are we talking about???

A big part of our fertility culture on the farm is the practice of sowing and utilizing green manure crops. A green manure crop, to explain in brief, is a planting of a mix of legumes (beans, peas, vetch, clover etc.) and grasses (oats, rye, wheat, millet, buckwheat, quinoa) in a ratio of approx. 60:40.
We often include a few other plant species in there for diversity. 

Green Manure

Mowing the green manure crop down.


The method of growing a green manure crop starts with sowing it after the previous vegetable crop has been harvested. Then allowing the green manure to grow and mature until just before the legumes flower, mowing it down, turning it under and allowing the plant matter to decompose. All of this before making beds and growing more veggies.

Falani broadforking

Falani Broad forking after the Creen manure has decomposed and beds are made.

The purpose of turning the green manure crop back into the soil before the grasses and legumes go to flower or seed, is to capture the plant at its peak vegetative growth stage, before it takes its energy and puts it towards flowers and seeds. This is the optimum time and is the crucial part of a successful cover cropping culture. Once turned under, all of those nutrients captured in the plants are then returned to the soil, in a more, ‘plant available’ form.
 
In relationship with this, we do soil tests and observe our plants to see if there are any nutrient deficiencies. If we see something, then we look to amend the soil using minerals or natural products that brings these deficiencies back into the mix (amendments should be applied before growing a green manure crop).
 
And that in a very small nutshell, is the basic concept of green manure. 

There, of course, is always more to know. We also involve biodynamic preparations in the process, but that story is for another day!

Radishes

Radishes are beautiful!

So now, get out and enjoy the sunshine, thank you for your support! We will have an open day in late spring to bring everyone together, and talk more farming….. so exciting!
 
Eat well, be well!


Warm wishes,

Falani, Olivier & Naia

"Eating is an Agricultural Act" - Wendell Berry