Siderata perform many useful functions: they loosen and heal the soil, prevent the growth of weeds and prevent soil erosion. A soil rich in humus, free from weeds, diseases is the dream of any gardener. It is quite possible to achieve this with minimal financial costs. Siderates will help in this, which are able to turn a poor area into a real oasis.
The use of green manure in the country
Siderata, or as they are also called, green fertilizer, are plants that are specially grown with subsequent embedding in the ground. Thanks to this, the soil is enriched with nitrogen, trace elements, starch, proteins, sugars. Siderata have a well-developed root system, and in some of them, individual roots penetrate more than 2 meters in depth. They take out useful substances from there, extract them upward, and subsequently cultivated plants planted in this place will be able to easily drink these elements.
Green fertilizer seeds are sown close to each other, thanks to which these crops suppress weeds, preventing them from growing in this area. During flowering, many green manures attract bees, which are beneficial pollinating insects.
Some of these plants can take nitrogen from the air and then store it in the soil, which also improves soil chemistry. And the compost layer formed on the surface of the earth prevents erosion.
In terms of nutrient value for plants, 3 kg of green fertilizer is equated to 1–1.5 kg of manure. If you plant it on 2-3 acres, then it will be tantamount to bringing manure to the cart. On a plot of 6 x 6 meters, it is possible to obtain 30-50 kg of green mass. Rotting, it enriches the earth with 150-200 grams of easily assimilable nitrogen.
Siderata are good both in low-humus sandy loam and sandy areas, and in heavy clayey.
Types of green manure
There are many of them. First of all, legumes are:
- annual lupine;
- sweet clover;
- goat's rue and others.
The roots of these plants contain bacteria that accumulate nitrogen and enrich the soil with it. After the growth of such crops, the soil becomes loose and nutritious. The benefit of legumes is that several harvests can be obtained in one season.
In the group of cruciferous siderates, one can distinguish:
- gray mustard;
- white mustard (English);
- spring and winter rapeseed;
- winter rape;
- oilseed radish.
The siderates of the family of cereals include:
- Sudanese grass;
- bread and sugar sorghum;
- gray wheatgrass, etc.
From flowering plants as a green fertilizer and at the same time a honey plant, site decoration is used:
- amaranth and others.
Rules for growing green manure
So that they suppress the growth of weeds and there is more green mass, they are sown thickly. Mow and cut before flowering or during it, so that seeds do not have time to form. After all, when you plant cultivated plants on this site, the seeds of green manure will become weeds for them. After cutting the green fertilizer, you need to wait at least half a month and only then plant the main crop. In order for green manure to quickly release its nutrients to the soil, after mowing, they are watered or sprayed with preparations that accelerate the decomposition of organic matter.
In order to avoid the appearance of diseases and pests, after the siderates of a certain group, cultivated plants of the same family are not planted in this place.
When to sow green manure?
This can be done several times per season, usually three times. In the spring, work is carried out early, so that when you plant seedlings of cultivated plants in this place, the siderates have time to grow well. At this time, they will help the seedlings take root, shading them from the sun.
The green fertilizer is cut with a flat cutter when it reaches the budding stage. It is better not to embed it in the soil, but to leave it on its surface. Then a fertile layer forms on top, which useful worms and plants love so much. For the latter, green fertilizer will also become mulch and will protect the soil from overheating and drying out. But you can embed them shallowly into the ground, on heavy ones by 15, and on light ones by 7 cm.
In summer, it is better to sow green manures with a developed root system. This will help restore the deep structure of the soil. Next year, you will plant these crops in other beds, and already here they will improve the deep soil layer.
The third sowing date is autumn. At this time, winter siderates are planted, which will gain green mass by the beginning of summer. You can make another sowing after harvesting early potatoes, greens in early August. Then by October you will have enough natural fertilizer in this place. It will need to be spilled with an EO preparation, and then by the spring this site will become ideal for sowing cultivated plants.
How to sow green manure?
When sowing in spring, the soil is slightly dug up. If you decide to plant siderates after the cultivated plants have been harvested, then you need to level the surface of the earth with a rake, at the same time covering with nitrophosphate, and on acidic soils, adding lime, chalk or ash, then sow the seeds thickly. They need to be poured into a high bowl, then stand facing the larger side of the site, gradually moving along the entire perimeter, sow it all.
Then the seeds are embedded in the soil with a rake to a depth of 5 cm. If it is dry, it is watered from a hose, putting on a spray nozzle. Siderata are planted not only in empty areas, they can be placed as an adjacent crop under shrubs and trees, ornamental and edible plants.
What green manure to plant?
White mustard (Sinapis alba) is often used for these purposes. This annual plant thrives on soils with any pH and is capable of releasing hard-to-dissolve phosphates. The plus of mustard is that the seeds sprout quickly, and it grows quickly. In just 2–2, 5 months, it will gain its mass, then it is mowed and slightly embedded in the soil. In this area, the disease of plants with scab of tubers, late blight, fusarium rot and other viral and fungal infections decreases, since white mustard acts as a soil orderly. If you sow it in late autumn, then you will violate the wintering conditions of the wireworm, which will cause the pest to die and not annoy the next year. Mustard is an excellent honey plant; during flowering, it attracts bees to the site.
Buckwheat also has this property, when it opens its flowers, there is a very pleasant aroma, and bees hover over the plant from morning to evening. Buckwheat also grows rapidly, enriching the soil with potassium and phosphorus. It has a strong root system that can extend to a depth of one and a half meters. It loosens the soil perfectly, lifting nutrients from its deep layers closer to the surface.
Sunflower is also planted as green manure. Its root system is even deeper and can grow down to 2 meters. This culture grows well greens both on alkaline and very acidic soils. Where sunflower is grown as a green fertilizer, it is harvested when it reaches a height of 50–60 cm, so there is no need to wait for seeds from such a plant.
Cereals are also used as a soil improver. Rye and oats convert carbon dioxide into useful organic substances, enrich the soil with potassium, improve its structure, and loosen it. The advantage of these crops is that they are able to withstand frosts down to -7 ° C.
A mixture of plants: vetch and oats has proven itself well. The latter enriches the soil, and vetch, like a legume plant, enriches nitrogen. Seeds are sown in late April, early May, or late August and early September, after the cultivated plants have been harvested. One hundred square meters will need 2 kilograms of seeds. For feeding, the preparation "Baikal EM 1" has proven itself perfectly. After the plants were cut during the budding period, they were embedded in the soil, it is good to use this drug by spilling the green mass with a solution.
Late sowing is perfect for oilseed radish, which grows quickly and thrives even on dense clay soils. It loosens the earth, is able to suppress nematodes, harmful bacteria.
Phacelia is not only a beautiful green manure, but also a charming flower. It attracts bees, grows quickly and gives a lot of green mass. It is very cold-resistant, can withstand frosts down to -9 ° C, so its seeds are sown in early spring. Phacelia improves the soil to a depth of 20 cm and enriches it with useful elements.
A lot of useful information about siderates in this video: