Siderata: what is it and how to use them in the country
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Today you can hear quite a lot of good things about siderates from gardeners and farming enthusiasts. These plants grow very quickly and act as an excellent green fertilizer, which is so necessary at every summer cottage. The main task and ability of green manure plants is to restore fertility and complete soil renewal. With the help of green manure plants, you can turn the poorest and most neglected soil into nutritious and fertile soil in a short time.
How to use green manure
You can sow green manure plants in different ways: together with vegetable crops or between plantings (before or after). Siderates are sown in early spring or early autumn.
For example, in the future vegetable garden (for growing cabbage, zucchini, cucumbers), green manure plants can be sown at the very beginning of spring. After all, all the same, the land will remain bare almost until the end of the spring season, because these heat-loving vegetable crops are not grown in open ground before May.
As soon as the snow melts in the area, you can immediately sow mustard or watercress. These cover plants grow a large amount of green mass in a short time, which, after mowing, is useful as mulch or organic fertilizer.
The root part of the plants must be left in the ground. Microorganisms in the soil will begin to convert plant residues into substances useful for soil and plants. You can help them speed up the process by using a drug with effective microorganisms.
It is advisable to start planting vegetable crops in this bed only 15-20 days after mowing green manure plants.
It is necessary to prepare the soil in the beds for early ripening vegetables (for example, radishes or lettuce leaves) after the last harvest (at the very beginning of autumn). For a month - one and a half before the cold weather, the siderata manage to grow about 40 centimeters of green mass and more than 30 centimeters of the root part. With the arrival of the first frosts, the green mass of green manure dies and the active work of earthworms, bacteria and various microorganisms begins. Throughout the winter season, there is a gradual renewal and improvement of the soil composition. By early spring, this land plot will be completely ready for planting vegetables.
Successful sideration rules
- Sowing seeds of green manure plants is carried out only in well-moistened and loose soil.
- The germination period of seeds can be minimized if, when planting, they are rolled a little so that there is more contact with the soil.
- Birds cause great harm in beds with green manure plants. They can feast on seeds that are on the surface of the beds and then all your efforts will be in vain. You can save plants from such a feathered invasion with the help of an ordinary scarecrow.
- It is not recommended to use for green manure plants that belong to the same family as the vegetable crops intended for planting. This relationship presupposes the same soil nutrition and similar infectious diseases.
- It is not recommended to violate the integrity of the soil in the garden bed by digging, and even more so together with the green mass. All beneficial microorganisms are destroyed in the process of digging, and negative changes occur in the composition of the soil. The green part of the plant should be mowed or cut and used for mulch or organic additives.
- If the siderates of spring planting are not cut off before flowering, then the stems become stiff, which further slows down the process of their decomposition. Therefore, it is recommended to harvest the green mass before it blooms.
Useful properties of green manure
Is green manure really much more useful than conventional mineral fertilizers? Is it worth cultivating them, spending time and energy on caring for them? Let's try to figure out what is the advantage of green manure plants and their benefits.
If you look closely at the life of plants in the wild, you will notice a lot of interesting and instructive things. For many tens and hundreds of years, plants grow and develop themselves, then shed their foliage or completely die, a decomposition process takes place in the soil. In the future, this soil becomes an excellent food for the next generation of plants. It provides all the necessary nutrients and becomes fertile on its own.
This happens from generation to generation. The natural fertile layer teaches nature itself to create, without the use of various fertilizers and digging. Representatives of the flora take care of themselves.
If you follow all the rules of green manure, then the poorest and most depleted soil will very soon "come to life" and will give all the plants on it need.
- Siderata is an opportunity to maintain the balance of all necessary useful elements in the soil: nitrogen, potassium, calcium, phosphorus and organic compounds.
- The soil will not become fertile without earthworms, small insects, bacteria and microorganisms. Green manure plants contribute to their appearance and create the most favorable conditions for living.
- The great advantage of these green fertilizers is that they completely eliminate weeds from the garden beds. The carpet from the sowing of green manure is so dense that there is no way even a small weed blade of grass can germinate.
- The root system of green manure plants is designed in such a way that they, as it were, pull up all the nutrients from the depths to the soil surface. At the same time, the soil becomes loose, with a normal level of acidity, and with great opportunities for the passage of moisture and air.
- Plants - siderates do not allow moisture to evaporate from the soil and do not allow the soil to overheat. The dense green carpet is a kind of protective layer.
- Siderata sown in the autumn season will protect the soil in the area from torrential rains and strong gusts of wind, prevent its deep freezing and keep the snow cover until spring.
- Using joint planting of vegetable and green manure crops, you can protect plants from pests and diseases.
The most common siderates
A large number of flora representatives can be used as green manure. It can be not only vegetables and cereals, but also several types of flowers and weeds.
- From the cruciferous family - radish, mustard, rape.
- From the legume family - soybeans, beans, lentils, peas, clover, alfalfa, chickpeas.
- From the family of cereals - wheat, rye, barley.
Calendula, sunflower, nettle, amaranth, buckwheat, phacelia and nasturtium have proven themselves excellently as green manure plants.
Siderata. What it is? Why are siderates needed
Acidic soil - siderates will help
Hello dear readers! Many often complain that the soil at their summer cottage becomes acidic over time, as a result, the yield of vegetable plants decreases. Today I decided to devote the release of my blog to improving the soil. Not sure how best to do this? I will reveal a secret - siderates for acidic soil are real lifesavers, provided that you do not make mistakes when using them. What it is? Siderata are fast-growing plants grown to improve the soil. I will be happy to help you figure out how and what to sow, so that the site pleases with harvests every year.
What are siderates and how to use them?
A kind of green fertilizer for the soil is created as a result of growing certain types of plants, and then plowing (digging) the crop of green mass, covering it with a layer of soil.
Plants used as green manure must meet the following characteristics:
- have a short growing season
- quickly produce large amounts of biomass
- have a high ability to use nitrogen taken by nodule bacteria from the air, to convert other soil nutrients into forms available to plants
- differ in unpretentiousness to soil conditions.
Nodule bacteria are a group of soil bacteria of the order Rhizobiales, capable of binding inorganic atmospheric nitrogen. These are bacteria of the genera Rhizobium, Bradyrhizobium, Azorhizobium, Sinorhizobium and Mesorhizobium, living in symbiosis with the roots of legumes.
In addition to the interchangeable groups belonging to α-proteobacteria, symbiosis with plants also includes the gram-positive Frankia bacteria. In the early 21st century, it was discovered that root nodules in legumes can also be formed by bacteria other than Rhizobiaceae. These are bacteria from the Methylobacterium and Burkholderia groups.
Photo. Root nodules on the roots of different plants
Leguminous plants form the largest family on Earth with about 18,000 species. Their success is likely due to their symbiosis with bacteria that bind atmospheric nitrogen. These microorganisms have the ability to fix free nitrogen from the air, due to which they supply plants with nitrogen (40-80 kg N / ha per year). As a result of this symbiosis, plants are provided with nitrogen, the quality and fertility of the soil increases.
Therefore, the most important group of green manure is the species belonging to the legume family. In total, during the season, such plants make an average of 4-8 g of nitrogen per 1 m² of soil (40-80 kg per hectare). This amount corresponds to the average annual dose of application of mineral nitrogen fertilizers in the industrial cultivation of winter wheat, corn, potatoes and other crops.
The list of the best siderates includes:
- sowing peas,
They also include plants from other families:
Soil green manure methods
- Complete fertilization. The biomass is buried in a thickness of 3-6 cm. They are used together - both roots and shoots.
- Mowing fertilizer. Mow the green biomass and close up.
- Aftermath fertilizer. Only the root parts are used. The above-ground part is cut off and used in another area or for the formation of compost piles.
The sideration method ensures the introduction of the necessary elements, prevents the depletion of the fertile layer.
Green herbs are used in the form:
- Natural organic biomass. To do this, they are plowed into the surface layer.
- In the form of humus or compost. Mixed with fallen leaves, tops of waste and composted.
- Like mulch. Mowed stems and leaves are laid out in the beds.
- As a liquid fertilizer. Bionastoi are prepared on the basis of fermentation for 8-10 days.
What are siderates and when to use them? (+ Video)
Siderata are not just some kind of grass, but an excellent green fertilizer. You do not need to buy mineral fertilizers in order to provide yourself with a high-quality crop, but it is enough to use green manure and organic farming methods.
You probably already know that the fertility of the soil is provided by worms and various microorganisms living in the earth. But how do they do it? That's right, eating organic matter. Siderata serve as an excellent food. Green manure crops are plants that are specially sown to feed the "creators of fertility". But green fertilizers do some other things. So, for example, these plants:
✔ carry out excellent loosening of the soil due to the developed root system
✔ mineral elements are extracted from deep layers with their long roots (note, not artificial mineral fertilizers, but natural elements from deep soil layers)
✔ build up plant mass, which can be used as mulch, restore eroded soils
✔ protect the soil from excessive heating in summer and hypothermia in winter, as well as from destruction and weathering of the fertile layer
✔ protect young seedlings of cultivated plants from the hot sun
cleanse the soil from some diseases and pests
✔ traps organic nutrients in the topsoil. This has a great effect on the growth of cultivated plants, since most of their roots are located precisely in the upper part.
✔ and of course, green manures are food for worms and microorganisms.
So, as you can see, nature works from all sides, and our task is only to help a little, and also not to harm. By the way, do not harm also applies to digging the beds on which green manure crops grew. Remember, digging green manure is a poor soil improvement method. Why? Firstly, when digging, you expend a lot of energy, secondly, you break the structure of the soil, which your green assistants so painstakingly created, and thirdly, digging destroys the fertility of the soil and kills beneficial microorganisms.
It is quite enough to prune green manure with a flat cutter or a cultivator, and if you need them to quickly work as fertilizer, you can water the cut plants with a solution of effective microorganisms.
It is important to consider the following when using green manure:
1. Decomposition of green manure with the subsequent formation of humus is possible only in the presence of moisture in the soil. If there is not enough moisture in your region, then you will have to water the bed with mown green manure from time to time for better humus formation.
2. Green fertilizers should be cut from the budding phase or maximum in the early-mid-flowering phase. Otherwise, firstly, the stem will become rough and useful substances from the soil will be used for its processing, and secondly, when the seeds ripen, the green manure plants will turn from friends into weeds.
Apply green manures in permanent, narrow beds to improve fertility in a targeted manner.
I also advise you to buy non-GMO seeds, because then these plants will eat worms and microorganisms, and if the plants are genetically modified, then we absolutely cannot predict how this will affect the inhabitants of the earth, and later on ourselves. Who knows what the humus from GMO plants will be and how it will affect cultivated plants?
It is difficult to give an unambiguous answer to this question, since each site has its own characteristics, soil acidity and its structure.
Siderata are sown taking into account crop rotation, that is, so that certain vegetables are planted after them. You know that all plants belong to certain families. And if suddenly you sow mustard as a siderat, and after it plant cabbage, then do not expect a good harvest, since these plants are from the same family.
The legume family includes the following green manure herbs:
● broad beans, alfalfa, clover.
These crops enrich the soil with nitrogen, since nitrogen-fixing bacteria live on their roots. Thanks to these plants, you don't have to spend money on harmful nitrate. Also, these plants structure the soil.
Just be careful with clover and alfalfa. They grow very quickly and braid everything with their roots. In addition, alfalfa and clover are perennials and simple pruning is not a strong hindrance to their further growth. Nevertheless, many successfully use them as siderates.
The cruciferous (cabbage) family includes:
The use of siderates of this family enriches the soil with phosphorus and sulfur. These plants heal well, structure and loosen the soil.
The family of cereals is represented by:
These crops increase the amount of potassium in the soil, control weeds well, and structure and loosen the soil. And rye also perfectly protects the soil from erosion, both wind and water.
If the above plants, while ignoring crop rotation, can harm cultivated plants, tofacelia is a universal, completely harmless green manure.
Phacelia can be used to protect tomato, cucumber and cabbage seedlings. Seedlings of these crops can be planted in the garden, making holes directly among the growing young phacelia.
The use of mixtures of different crops is very effective. Bean-cereal mixtures are often used.
When to sow green manure?
Sowing green manure is possible in spring, summer and autumn.
Siderates are sown in spring not only to improve fertility, but also to provide good conditions for seedlings. To do this, it is necessary to adjust with sowing so that the green fertilizers have time to grow a little before planting the seedlings in the garden. Plant seedlings directly into growing green manure, which will provide it with additional protection from the heat and night spring cold snaps. When the "patrons" begin to shade the seedlings or when buds are formed on them, trim them carefully with a hand cultivator or Fokin's flat cutter. Do not carry green fertilizers onto the compost, but leave them as mulch.
In the spring, you can sow the following green manure crops:
● mustard (from sowing to cutting it grows for 1-1.5 months)
● phacelia (cut after 7-8 weeks)
● rape (grows before cutting for about 50-60 days)
● spring rape (sown from late March-early April. After 1-1.5 months, you can cut)
● spring vetch. Good as a precursor for pepper and tomato seedlings. It is recommended to cut it 2 weeks before planting the seedlings.
In summer, you can also sow green manure. But another important season for sowing green manure is autumn. As soon as you harvest from the garden, sow green fertilizers on the same day. It can be the same phacelia, mustard, rye, vetch.
In the spring, prune the overwintered green manure with a flat cutter or cultivator and, if necessary, pour it with a solution of effective microorganisms for a faster formation of a fertile layer.
Siderata are very good helpers for the eco-grower, which is not surprising given the functions they perform. Sow green manure in the country, restore the soil and let your vegetables, berries and fruits be the most delicious and healthy.
We sow green manure
Sowing green manure is easy and simple - they do not need to provide any special conditions.
Step 1. On a dug and loosened bed, from which the crop has already been harvested, small grooves are made with the help of a flat cutter. The direction of the "paths" is perpendicular to the long side of the bed. The depth of the grooves is no more than 7 cm.
Step 2. Siderat seeds (for example, mustard) are picked by hand from a bag and scattered thickly over the garden bed. You can try to get into the grooves.
Step 3. Parallel to the long side of the bed, using a flat cutter, the soil is neatly leveled. At the same time, the seeds are covered with a layer of earth.
That's all science. After that, the garden bed can be watered with water from a watering can and wait for shoots. Sometimes people simplify this technology even more - they simply scatter green manure seeds over the soil surface and rake it over it.
Video - Siderata in the garden
So, we found out that siderates are plants that are needed in order to plant them, mow them before flowering and embed them in the soil to enrich it with nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, to disinfect the soil from pests and various diseases, to protect the soil from weeds. ...
You can sow green manure both in spring and autumn. Ideal, of course, do not exist. But you can mix it up to achieve multiple goals. Which green manure will be better on your site can only be determined empirically. It is good if you know what is the acidity of the soil in your area, what is its structure and composition.
Because some are suitable for heavy and clayey ones, and others for sandy or swampy ones. Some praise rye, others oats, while others scold both and choose mustard or oil radish. The most popular siderates, I would say, are still cruciferous plants. But neither cereals nor legumes are inferior to them. The main thing is to know where and how to apply them.
I talked about mustard and a little about cereals and legumes, but there are many more very good ones: lupines, phacelia, etc. You can talk about them for a long time, but this is a topic for another article. I hope that my note on green fertilizers was useful and interesting for you and will help you in the struggle for a harvest in your country house. I wish you good harvests!
If you liked my article, write a comment, share it on social networks! I am a young blogger and I am just starting to keep my diary, I am still learning and, perhaps, I am missing something.
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