What are siderates and what they are. Using green manure as live mulch

"Live mulch" - green manure helps to reduce labor costs and increase yields. Part 2

Read the first part of the article: Mulching experience: what and how to make mulch

Unfortunately, so far not so many gardeners know what siderates are. Even fewer of them can give examples of green manure crops. I am already silent about their use on my sites. Although, in fairness, it should be noted that some gardeners successfully sow potato fields with winter rye after harvest. Some people sow lupine for compost at the fence, but in general this area is still very little used.

What are siderates? They are called green manure, manure substitute, and natural mulch. Each crop is unique and suitable for its soil type and subsequent main crop.

I will not give a botanical characterization of each culture here. I just want to share my experience on the siderates that I use and tell why they are needed at all.

Initially, it should be noted that I do not dig the ground on my site. I work with a shovel only for preparing planting holes, drainage trenches, etc.

A few words about why I don't dig. Soil is, unfortunately or fortunately, not a homogeneous organism, but a very complex biosystem. Any digging of the soil violates its mechanical and organic structure. First of all, natural channels that supply plants with moisture and air are destroyed. The soil becomes structureless, and its so-called "looseness", which we are so proud of after a thorough digging, is lost after the first good rain.

In the first years of the development of the site, when I saw a compressed layer of clay in the beds, I immediately grabbed the hoe-ripper. And she spent more than one hour at this lesson. Alas, my achievements were enough until the next rain. In addition, it is no longer a secret for anyone that the soil is a living structure and is inhabited not only by our favorite helper worms, but also by a great variety of microorganisms and microscopic fungi invisible to the eye. But they are also very different and require different conditions of existence.

Only bacteria are divided into three classes according to the type of respiration - aerobes, anaerobes and facultative, and according to the type of nutrition - into autotrophs and heterotrophs. And they live in different soil layers - aerobes only in the upper, air-permeable layer, which is about 5 cm, anaerobes, on the contrary, in the lower, airless levels of the soil.

Now imagine what would happen if you take a shovel and dig up the soil, mixing its layers. At best, in an attempt to preserve themselves, the bacteria will "fall asleep", turning into spores, at worst, they will die. It's hard to put it all in your head, isn't it? And it's even more difficult to understand what needs to be done, because our grandfathers dug, our great-grandfathers dug ...

Start small - with a bag of green manure. It is they, and I believe that this is their main function - they replace my shovel. Well, dig the soil with a shovel a meter and a half, or even two in depth! And they do it. Moreover, without any effort on your part, and, most importantly, without disturbing the soil structure. In addition, they themselves create this structure, leaving behind a unique network of intertwining large canals and soil capillaries almost invisible to the eye, through which nutrients will go to our garden pets.

And if you think about crop rotation? I don’t think that many of you, including me, drag a tomato greenhouse or a cucumber greenhouse around the site every year. I am already silent about the potato field. Siderata come to the rescue here too, joining the crop rotation as a catch crop.

But let's start over. What green manure do I use? In fact, they can all be divided into three types (at least, I divided them so for myself). These are the so-called "fast" siderates, which include crops from the cruciferous family - rape (especially my favorite), oil radish, mustard, rapeseed. All of them are characterized by a very fast ripening period. It takes only 30-45 days from germination to flowering, which allows the use of these crops in the off-season.

Rapeseed and olive radish are "my" crops, they are perfectly adapted to different climatic zones and different types of soils, including heavy loams. In addition, oil radish actively suppresses nematodes, although I have never encountered this scourge.

Mustard and rapeseed are more capricious. They grow rather poorly on poorly cultivated, humus-poor soils with an acid reaction, and do not like sandy soils. But when sowing on rich, high-nitrogen soils, they contribute to the binding of nitrates and reduce their leaching into groundwater. In addition, they enrich the soil with organic matter, phosphorus and sulfur, and mustard also helps in the fight against wireworm. On my site, I sow mustard and rapeseed only in greenhouses at the beginning of the season. In general, I sow cruciferous green manures twice a year, in early spring, before planting the main crops, and in the fall - after harvesting.

In the spring, as soon as the snow melts, and even earlier in the greenhouses - at the end of March, I loosen the ground with the "Kozma" flat-cutter and sow one of the aforementioned siderates. Shoyu very tightly, exceeding the norms specified in the instructions two times. I lightly cover the seeds with a rake and cover them with SUF17 spunbond. And in this form, you can leave the beds even until the very cut. Literally in a couple of days, under a light blanket of spunbond, the first shoots, typical of any representative of the cruciferous family, begin to appear. And after a month, the bed turns into a solid green carpet, leaving almost no weed a chance.

Here is another very valuable property of green manure - suppression of the development of weeds. And they do it very successfully. Why do weeds grow at all? Because it is unusual for the earth to be empty. As soon as there is even a piece of bare earth - get a fresh weed! And we have how much time is wasted land in the same greenhouses? Naturally, weeds have plenty of space. Siderata, on the other hand, overtake most types of weeds in terms of development rates, having time to cover the land completely before their development. In some places, weeds, especially wheatgrass, still pop up, trying to find a place for themselves in the sun, but they are so weakened that it is no longer difficult to cope with them.

Spring is coming to an end, the sun is already warming quite like summer. It is time to plant seedlings of heat-loving crops. Looking at our beds, we see here and there the gentle lights of the first flowers. Siderata enter the second, no less important phase of their life. How to deal with them further - we look at the weather. If it is wet, cool, and the sun is not a frequent visitor to the spring sky, then we take up the flat cutter (I, of course, for my beloved "Kozma") and cut off all the green mass at the root, after which you can slightly close the cut into the ground, chopping with a cut or just a shovel, or you can leave it that way. The result is a thick carpet of nutritious mulch.

If the weather, like last year, is hot and sunny, then let the plane cutter rest for now, and we will plant the seedlings in the greenhouse right on the green carpet. I make planting holes with a well-sharpened garden drill. It is very convenient - you "bite" with sharp knives in any pre-selected place of the green coating and make a cylindrical hole with smooth edges. We leave the rest of the green manure untouched for another week, and then cut it off with a flat cutter or other tool.

What does it give us? Usually, the seedlings brought from home windowsills are very delicate and not prepared for the open sun and high temperatures, especially at noon in the greenhouse. Good for those who have loggias, verandas and the opportunity to accustom seedlings to the street. I don't have all of this. Therefore, such a planting is simply the salvation of all spring labors. Siderata create an excellent openwork shade, not allowing the sun to burn out the delicate leaves white-white, or even completely destroy the plants. In addition, the land also remains closed, which significantly reduces watering and contributes to a faster and more painless survival of seedlings.

A week is quite enough time for the adaptation of the planted plants. Therefore, as soon as you see that the seedlings have taken root and started growing, immediately mow the siderates, because all greenhouse crops are very light-loving and can stretch out, which will create additional difficulties for you and me.

In a month, or even less after planting seedlings, if your land is alive, there will be no trace of green manure. Everything will be eaten by small soil dwellers. Don't forget to replenish their feeders by spreading a new layer of mulch on the ground. Last year, a week after mowing, only small straws remained from the oil radish, in rare bunches yellowing under the growing strength of the tomatoes.

I did not mention one more disadvantage of these unpretentious crops. Unfortunately, if a cruciferous flea reigns on your site, you will have to abandon the crops of siderates of this family. And with the main crops it will be hard. In addition, do not forget about crop rotation - refrain from growing this group of green manure in front of all types of cabbage, when re-sowing radish, black radish, turnip, etc.

Read the end of the article: What are the siderates

Irina Vezhenkova, gardener, winner of the competition "Summer Season - 2008"

Compatibility table of green manure and vegetable crops. Green manure plants


  1. Compatibility table of green manure and vegetable crops. Green manure plants
  2. After what siderates, what to plant. The best green manure for the garden
    • Universal green manure - phacelia
    • Bactericidal green manure - mustard
    • Wasteland and virgin green manure - sweet clover
  3. What green manure to sow in August. What green manure to sow in the beds in August?
  4. Siderat for cabbage. Siderata for specific plants
    • Cucumbers
    • Tomatoes
    • Cabbage
    • Potatoes
  5. What green manure can be sown together. Sowing green manure in spring
  6. Siderata under the bow. We have almost lost hope. but summer has come. And it's nothing that September is coming soon. So it's time to go to the country. Now the author of the "Successful Advice" column will give everyone an assignment.
  7. What green manure under what crops to sow. WHEN TO SOW SIDERATES?

Are beans green manure?

Common beans - a plant from the legume family, an annual herb with a highly branched straight or curly stem, three-lobed leaves, collected in rare clusters of flowers, with a whitish, pink or bluish corolla and a long straight fruit.

Beans came to Europe from the New World in the 16th century, where they were called “Italian beans,” and to Russia two centuries later, probably from Poland. Eat unripe beans, vegetable beans.

Using... There are dozens of delicious and nutritious bean recipes, many of which are considered gourmet recipes. Salads and soups are prepared from beans and bean pods, they are served with fried meat, salted, dried, pickled.

Depending on the structure of the beans, bean varieties are divided into shelling (with a coarse thick parchment layer), semi-sugar (with a weak layer), sugar or asparagus (there is no parchment layer). The most valuable varieties, like peas, are sugar varieties. Beans are an important raw material for the canning industry. For canning whole beans (shoulder blades), sugar beans are used that do not have a leathery film in the wall of the bean valve.

Bean blades contain up to 6% proteins, up to 5% sugars and vitamins, a lot of easily digestible protein, mineral salts, carotene, vitamins, carbohydrates. This culture is considered a very healthy dietary product. Leaves can serve as a source of industrial production of citric acid (in some varieties of beans, by the time the beans ripen, it accumulates up to 14-18%).

Beans are used in everyday life not only for food purposes. It can be used for washing woolen knitted fabrics (boil 1 kg of beans in 5 liters of water, strain the broth, cool to about 40 ° C and wash in this solution).

Beans enrich the soil with nitrogen and are a good predecessor of other crops (root nodule bacteria live on the roots of beans, which consume nitrogen from the air and enrich the soil).

Site preparation. The bean culture is thermophilic. Seeds germinate at a temperature of 12-15 ° C, seedlings and adult plants are sensitive to frost and die at 0 ° C, so a garden bed in a sunny place should be allocated for it. Growing beans in areas protected from cold winds has a beneficial effect on increasing yields. Areas with a neutral or slightly acidic reaction of the soil medium (pH 6-7) are allocated for beans. If necessary, the soil must be limed before sowing.

The soil should be fertile, but without excess nitrogen. In the garden, vegetable beans should be sown 2-3 years after the application of organic fertilizers. In vegetable gardens, where the soils are usually well filled with organic fertilizers, it is enough to apply only mineral fertilizers, primarily phosphorus and potash. Mineral nitrogen fertilizers are not applied, otherwise a powerful vegetative mass develops to the detriment of the fruits.

On soils with a low humus content, organic fertilizers in the form of compost are applied in the fall for digging at the rate of 4 kg (half a bucket) per 1 sq. M. In the spring, mineral fertilizers are applied under the beans: 30 g of superphosphate, 20 g of potassium chloride per 1 sq. M. The best predecessors are cucumber, cabbage, tomato, potatoes. At the same place, beans can be sown no earlier than after 3-4 years.

Beans are sown in two periods: early, when the soil at a depth of 10 cm warms up to 12-14 ° C, and after 710 days. Before sowing, the seeds are kept for 20 minutes in a 1% solution of potassium permanganate (10 g per 1 l of water), and then washed in clean water and dried.

Common bush beans are sown to a depth of 5-6 cm at a distance of 40 cm row from row and 20-25 cm between plants. Climbing beans are sown at a distance of 50 cm row from row, 25-30 cm between plants. Supports up to 1.5 m high are placed for it. On light, well-heated soils, beans are sown on a flat surface, and on cold, with a close groundwater level, on ridges.

Seedlings are planted on ridges up to 100 cm wide. After digging, 1 glass of wood ash, 1 tablespoon of superphosphate and nitrophoska and 2-3 kg of organic fertilizers (manure or vegetable humus) are added per 1 sq. M. After that, the bed is dug to a depth of 10-12 cm.Seedlings are planted according to the scheme: 50 cm between rows, in a row - 25-30 cm.

Care behind crops is the systematic loosening of the soil in the aisles, weeding in rows, feeding, watering, pest and disease control. They begin to loosen the soil at the emergence of seedlings and the designation of rows, and later - if necessary, at the same time weeding the weeds.

In the budding phase, beans are fed with mineral fertilizers at the rate of 15 g of superphosphate, 5 g of potassium chloride per 1 sq. M.

Take away beans on a shoulder 8-10 days after the formation of ovaries, with a bean length of 5 to 14 cm, width and thickness of 0.6-1.1 cm.In this phase, in sugar varieties, the pods are most juicy, with seeds no larger than a wheat grain and pulp that fills all the spaces between the shutters.

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Types of green manure and their properties

Farmers use more than four hundred different plants. There are both annual and perennial green fertilizers. Siderata from the legume family prevent the development of fungal diseases and diseases of fruit and berry and vegetable crops. Popular types of legumes for the garden:

  • annual lupine
  • vigna
  • sweet clover
  • pelushka
  • Vika
  • beans
  • alfalfa
  • clover
  • chickpea
  • soy
  • lentils
  • peas, etc.

Planting legumes three times will eliminate fertilizers with manure or poultry droppings.

Green manure cereal plants are winter crops (oats, wheat, rye) and spring crops (fescue, sorghum, bent grass, timothy grass, oats, millet, barley).

In spring, they try to sow early green fertilizers of the Asteraceae and Cruciferous families. Their flowers attract bees, thereby natural pollination of other vegetable and berry crops occurs. The most popular are:

  • mallow
  • rape
  • radish
  • amaranth
  • mustard
  • buckwheat
  • phacelia.

Common types of green manure crops

About 400 plant species are used as green manure. The choice of this or that type depends on the quality of the soil and on the main type of vegetables grown. The most popular green manure crops are:

  • legumes - peas, soybeans, broad beans, lupine, alfalfa, seradella, sweet clover, sainfoin, beans, clover, spring vetch, chickpeas
  • cereals - winter rye and wheat, millet, sorghum, spring barley and oats, mixtures (timothy, ryegrass, fescue)
  • cruciferous - rape, rapeseed, mustard, oil radish
  • hydrophilic - phacelia
  • buckwheat - buckwheat
  • aster - marigolds, sunflower
  • amaranth - width, amaranth.

When choosing a culture, the following basic rules are followed:

  • green manure and main crop must not belong to the same family
  • for greater efficiency, green manures are cut at the stage of budding or active flowering, but not later
  • the selection of plant fertilizer depends on the composition of the soil, for example, cereal plants are best suited to clay soil.

The most popular cultures among summer residents and gardeners are mustard, phacelia and sweet clover.


Annual with whole leaves and flowers of pale yellow color, collected in inflorescences and smoothed whole leaves. Grows up to a meter in height. White mustard is used for green manure. Sowed with potatoes, beans, grapes and fruit trees. Mustard enriches the soil with nitrogen, phosphorus and trace elements. Promotes the rapid growth of crops and protects them from pests.

After using mustard as a fertilizer, do not plant radishes, radishes, cabbage, lettuce and other cruciferous plants.


Phacelia is a representative of the aquifolia family. Bell-shaped phacelia is used as a fertilizer. It is an annual plant up to 24 cm long, with compact blue or lilac flowers that form inflorescences in the form of a brush and resemble miniature bells.

Phacelia is a versatile green manure suitable for all types of vegetable crops. Enriches the soil with potassium and nitrogen, neutralizes soil acidity, prevents weeds from germinating. Phacelia roots, located superficially immediately after mowing, rot, forming an air-permeable protective layer. Grows in peat, chernozem, clay and loamy soils, not afraid of frost.


Perennial, the height of which varies from 50 cm to 2 meters. It has a branched stem, taproot, trifoliate leaves. The flowers are long, drooping, white or yellow. The plant tolerates frost and drought well. Grows on clay and sandy soils.

Melilot accumulates nitrogen in the ground and improves the structure of the soil. The mown green mass improves the activity of beneficial microorganisms in the soil, protects plants from such pests as wireworms and nematodes, and the aroma of flowering melilot attracts pollinating insects. Suitable for fertilizing all types of vegetable crops.

Green manure is an excellent alternative to chemical fertilizers that have a destructive effect on the soil structure. In addition, the seeds of these plants can be purchased at an affordable price. That is why green manure crops are very popular among summer residents.

Plants = fertilizers

For the sole purpose of enriching the soil with nutrients, farmers plant special types of plants in unoccupied soil areas or as a related crop. In the practice of agriculture, such a "green fertilizer" has been used since the time of Ancient Greece.

The Roman scientist and writer Pliny the Elder voiced the following thought in the 50-70s of our era: “Everyone agrees that there is nothing more useful than lupine, if it is plowed into the soil with a plow before the beans are formed, or bunches of lupine cut off at the surface of the soil are buried near fruit trees and bushes of grapes ... This is as good a fertilizer as manure. " That is, the remarkable ability of plants to fertilize the soil has been known for a long time - we can only enrich this knowledge with modern experience.

The benefits of siderates were known even in Ancient Greece and Rome.

All plants that increase soil fertility and are cultivated specifically for this have a common name - siderates... Green manure crops suppress the growth of weeds, cleanse the soil from diseases and pests, are used in the form of mulch and as raw material for the preparation of composts and liquid fertilizers. Surprisingly, the organic matter that forms from the combination of sunlight, air and water is equivalent to manure, and sometimes much more effective than it!

The most commonly used green fertilizers are:


  • fodder beans
  • winter vetch, or hairy
  • field peas, or pelushka
  • clover
  • lupine
  • alfalfa
  • ciradella


Legumes enrich the soil with organic matter, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium.


  • mustard
  • rape
  • oil radish
  • rape

Many crucifers are excellent green manures.

These plants enrich the soil with organic matter, phosphorus and sulfur. In addition, mustard cleans the soil from wireworms, and oil radish actively inhibits the development of nematodes.


  • oats
  • winter rye
  • buckwheat

Cereals are often used as green manure

Grains enrich the soil with organic matter, nitrogen and potassium. Buckwheat increases the content of phosphorus and potassium in the soil and is recommended for heavy soils, especially in the aisles of fruit crops.

Almost all green manure plants can be used as feed for livestock.

And the seeds of various green manure crops can be picked up in our catalog, which contains the offers of many large garden online stores. Select green manure seeds.

Key points when using siderates

Having started to cultivate a garden, having learned about which crops belong to the siderates, one must take it for the truth that certain rules are followed for the selection and cultivation of siderates. Sowing is possible in autumn, spring and summer. In the fall, the first plantings are made at the very beginning. If the harvest has not yet been completed, the seeds are sown to the ripening harvest. A little later, it's time to plant winter crops. Their seedlings should appear only in early spring. Winter green manures are sown in October, or even in November. In the spring, green fertilizers are planted in the soil as early as possible, cut, without allowing their seeds to ripen. In the summer, such plants are sown and used as spring plants, they can be planted along the edge of the beds, as well as in the aisles, and used in the fall.

The decision of which green manure to choose is made based on which crops will be planted in the garden. Plants of the same family as the main crop cannot be used. It is not necessary to plant the same green fertilizer in one place, it is necessary to alternate with others.

Generally, the green manure plants that are most commonly used are annual crops. However, perennials are also very effective in improving soil health. They are used at an extreme degree of soil depletion. The available list of perennial green manure is quite wide, but I would like to highlight alfalfa and sweet clover due to their frequent use.
After harvesting, the land should not be left empty, it must be given such protection as the green manure protects the soil at the phacelia level, otherwise the soil will be depleted. Weeds immediately grow on empty soil, which suck out nutrients in large quantities from it.

Novice gardeners generally do not know how to remove green manure from their site. There is an opinion that they need to be plowed into the soil, but it will be more useful if you use a flat cutter or a hoe when cleaning. Plants are pruned in the soil, as a result, the roots are more beneficial, and mulch is also formed.
Having received basic knowledge about the use of green manure on the site, a novice gardener can increase the yield on his site without using inorganic fertilizers and pesticides to fight insects.

Watch the video: Why u0026 How To Grow Green Manure

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