Blog Cantray Park draft - light teal Feb 14

3 Cantray Square

Croy

Inverness, Scotland

IV2 5PP

01667 493500

Cantraybridge was established in 1994 and is a company limited by guarantee and a registered Scottish charity.  Company registration number 149774, charity number SCO 22419.

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Green Manure

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Why use green manures?

 

Green manures are crops grown within a rotation for many different purposes including :

building soil organic matter and soil structure

supplying nitrogen and other nutrients for a following c

preventing leaching of soluble nutrients from the soil providing ground cover to prevent damage to soil structure

bringing crop nutrients up from lower soil profiles

smothering weeds and preventing weed seedling growth.

 

Green manures for weed control

Green manure crops are an effective tool for controlling weeds.

A fast growing, short-term green manure between crops will smother weed seedlings, and the cultivations necessary to incorporate the green manure will further reduce the weed burden.

This can be taken a stage further by under sowing suitable crops with a green manure such as the small-leaved Kent Wild White clover, which will smother weeds, fix nitrogen for following crops and protect the soil surface.

A well-established over-wintering green manure will smother weed seedlings and some, notably grazing rye, will prevent weed seed germination as they decompose after incorporation into the soil.

 

 

Green manures as over winter cover crops

After a crop has been removed, bare soil is vulnerable to damage to its surface and structure by rainfall, particularly during the winter. A green manure sown in the autumn will protect the soil surface.

In addition, nutrients still available for plant growth can be leached out of the soil and lost into watercourses where they can cause pollution. As well as acting as a cover crop a hardy green manure crop will mop up soluble nutrients, and retain them for release when the green manure is incorporated in the spring.

 

Green manures also help to improve conditions for earthworms and soil fauna which can help to maintain  populations.

 

Earthworms just love to have a cover over their heads, happily munching away at plant debris and decaying green manure. Soil fauna multiply faster when soil is covered helping to process the organic material into available nutrients and helping to bind them to the soil.

 

Natural Weedkillers

Let mother nature to give you a helping hand!

Some plants can help to inhibit the growth of others. They do this by producing substances that are toxic to certain species.

Grazing rye when dug into the soil ,or left as a mulch on the surface releases chemicals that can inhibit the germination of small seeds but is safe to plant young plants into.