Greener manuring

Green manures, crops grown especially for returning to and improving the soil, have a long, mainly agricultural, history. Such as lupines, usefully a Nitrogen fixing legume, were grown and dug under as far back as Roman orchards. The Medieval fallow continued an ancient break in cropping combined with a green manuring by weeds. Excellent from the weeds point of view as they got to seed and multiply every few years just as the last batch faded away.

Green manuring

The idea of green manuring is simple. We grow crops on the soil when it is not otherwise employed to later return them to enrich the soil. This costs very little except the seed, which can be self saved, and the effort brings many benefits. Sunlight energy and water is turned into biomass, the soil is protected from erosion and weeds are excluded. The only minor hitch is that green manuring has been developed mostly by farmers rather than by gardeners. So we have been recommended to use such delights as Hungarian grazing rye, tares and vetches, and clovers.

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