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At a time when the vegetable patch seems to be falling asleep, when the potatoes are in crates in the cellar and when the last tomatoes are trying to finish ripening, it's time to have the reflex "green manure". What is it about ? Quite simply an intermediate crop which allows the soil to remineralize and restructure before welcoming new vegetables the following spring. Indeed, and we forget it too often, a healthy soil is the guarantor of delicious and healthy crops! And to maintain his soil, the gardener can use animal manure, compost or green manure. The advantage of the latter? It is accessible to all, for a few euros, and above all it has the advantage of preventing the growth of weeds during the time it is in place. Some green manures can even be tasted in salads (see our file)! Finally, most of the plants used in green manure have a charming flowering, and there are varieties adapted to each soil and each season. So let yourself be tempted! Difficulty : easy Cost : from a few euros to a few tens of euros, depending on the area to be sown Tools required : - a rake - a roll
Step 1 - Choose your green manure
Among the multitude of plants likely to be used in green manure, you will have the choice! To make an informed decision, select a fertilizer suitable for the period in which you are. You can also take into account the nature of your soil, knowing that this criterion is almost secondary since the most common green manures (mustard, phacelia, clover, etc.) are suitable for all types of soil. To put it simply, go to a garden center: fertilizers adapted to the period will be highlighted and you can check, by referring to the packaging, that they are suitable for your specific situation.
Step 2 - Prepare the soil
It's the end of beans, er, potatoes! After such a delicious culture, it is welcome to let the soil rest while giving it something to "regain strength". We are at the beginning of September, and our choice is on red clover.
It is not necessary to dig the soil before sowing a green manure, on the contrary. It is enough, once the previous harvest removed, to level the soil with a rake. If necessary, remove the stones and weeds you come across.
Step 3 - Measure your seed
By referring to the indications on the package, measure the volume of seeds necessary for the plot on which you sow it. Avoid having a heavy hand (as in our example, see step 6!). You will not further enrich your soil as well, the risk being rather to compromise the good development of the plants by too high a density per square centimeter!
Step 4 - Sow on the fly
Sowing green manure is done on the fly on previously cleaned and leveled soil. Cover the floor evenly.
Step 5 - Tamp the soil
Tamp the soil so as to install the seeds well in the soil and thus promote their emergence. To do this, use a roller or, otherwise, tamp with the back of your rake.
Step 6 - Water
Nothing like a little rain - natural or not - to start the germination process.
Step 7 - Let it grow!
Most green manures have the ability to smother "weeds". During their growth, you will have nothing else to do but watch them grow! As growth is generally rapid, watch for the appearance of the first flowers. If you let them seed, then the fertilizer will naturally reseed itself at the risk of becoming a bit invasive. In the case of phacelia, it is a risk that can be taken and even assumed as the flower is pretty! What's more, most of the green manure flowers are popular with browsers. Finally, letting the plant reach the seed state makes it possible to recover seed for the following years. In the end, if we put aside the inconvenience of uncontrolled sowing, it is rather interesting to let the flowers come!
Step 8 - Cut the green manure
Once the fertilizer has reached maturity, you will need to cut it before burying it. For this, you can use a simple hoe, a scythe or even a mower. Note that, in the case of fertilizers installed during the winter period, the gel will help you by partially destroying the plant. You will just have to bury it.
Step 9 - Let the green manure dry
Once cut, let your green manure dry on the ground. This step is important because, once incorporated into the soil, materials that are still green may ferment and degrade badly, while the same materials, once dry, will be easily destroyed by natural elements and microorganisms present in floor.
Step 10 - Incorporate the green manure into the soil
Once the materials are completely dry, they must be buried in the ground. For this, use a fork, a grelinette or a tiller, depending on the size of your land and the effort you are ready to make!
Step 11 - Sow the next crop
A few months have passed, the green manure previously buried is now well decomposed. It has not only enriched your soil but also improved its texture thanks to the large root network of its plants and the work of micro-organisms responsible for "digesting" the materials present in the soil. The soil just needs to be slightly loosened before hosting the next crop. And whatever it is, once it is finished, remember to repeat the cycle by sowing the green manure of your choice again!