What is ‘green manuring’?
Green is the color of nature, green is a way of living, in this new wave of green movement; can our good old garden manure be green? The answer is yes; that too quite literally!
Organic farming is the need of the hour & green manure is a perfect organic counterpart of nitrogen rich fertilizers. In this blog, you will learn about the exact definition of ‘green manuring,’ different green manure crops, and understand its purpose & importance.
Green manure is a type of organic fertilizer where an entire fresh plant or plant part (e.g.,. Leaf) is directly used as manure in agriculture lands, without any prior decomposition or composting. Green manures are required to be added in bulk quantity. This concept is fast gaining popularity in organic farming where it plays a significant role in sustainable annual cropping system. Click here to read more about sustainable agriculture.
Let’s have a look at different types of green manures:
1. Leguminous green manures:
All plants need nitrogen in a significant amount. It has been noticed that in the organic fertilizers there is often a deficiency of high dose of nitrogen. This is where green manures come to the rescue. Leguminous plants fix their nitrogen; therefore leaves, stems & roots of leguminous green manures are rich in nitrogen. These crops are grown in the farmland & are eventually plowed down & buried in the same soil when they are about to flower.
Examples of leguminous green manure crops: Sunn hemp, Mung beans, black gram, Cluster Beans, Pigeon peas, chickpeas, Fenugreek, Green Peas, Soybean, cowpeas.
2. Green leaf manures:
Only leaves of some leguminous trees are used as green manures instead of all plant parts. Leaves are collected from trees & are mixed in soil while they are still fresh. Green leaf manures steadily release nitrogen into the soil.
Examples of green leaf manures: Gliricidia, Leucaena, Sesbania, Pongamia.
3. Cover crops:
Mostly non leguminous plants are grown to cover the whole farmland to control weeds & prevent soil erosion. Green manure cover crops act ‘a living mulch.’ Click here to read more about the importance of mulching.
Examples of cover crops: Brassica, Millets, Oats, Rye, Radish.
So what are the advantages of green manure?
- As mentioned above, green manure can be a great substitute for chemical nitrogenous fertilizers.
- Once mixed in the soil, green manures slowly decompose & release other great micro & macro nutrients as well.
- This manure significantly improves the quality of soil by increasing its overall humus/biomass content.
- The addition of green manures strengthens the water holding capacity of soil.
- Due to green manures population of friendly microorganism in soil increases.
Going green gets real when you start using green manures!