Green Manure

| 7/19/2011 1:57:35 PM

A Red Pine Mountain LogoGreen manure; do you know what it is?  If so, then this entry will be too simplistic for you.  But if you're a novice like me and have no clue about green manure then this post might help explain it.

I've been interested in bringing our hay fields back into production.  They've been dormant for years and silly me, I thought we could just get out there and start cutting again and all would be well. 

"You can't just start cutting hay on those fields." the always knowledgeable Mountain Man said.  "There's work to be done to them and they also need fertilizing."

"Not a problem." I reply.  "I'll just take my band of horses and we'll tromp through the fields leaving fertilizer as we walk."


"We don't have enough horses to get the job done."

Mountain Woman
7/23/2011 6:17:29 AM

Cindy, just read your comment to Mountain Man. How interesting. I was hoping you'd wander over here because I knew you'd have great insights to share on this topic. I'm just learning and totally fascinated. Just amazing to me the things we can do if we put our minds to it without resorting to harmful chemicals. Definitely going to find out even mroe about radishes. Thanks a bunch!!! P.S. - I know you had an article in Grit about asparagus. Maybe you could do an article on Green Manure. Lots of people would love to learn more I'm sure and I'm not the one to teach them.

Cindy Murphy
7/22/2011 6:29:56 AM

Cute conversation between you and Mountain Man, Mountain Woman. Informative too. Last fall, I learned about tillage radishes when my boss planted them in the growing fields at the nursery - not necessarily green manure, but they do a lot more than traditional cover crops. They're kinda cool, actually. The taproot (an edible radish) can be more than a couple of feet deep, which breaks up and helps in aeration of compacted soils. They also store nutrients, which are recycled back into the soil after winterkill, in addition to helping keep nitrogen from leaching down into the soil, and keeping it up near the surface for the following year's planting. The winterkilled radishes decompose, adding organic matter to the soil, and there are no seeds left to worry about as there are with other cover crops. And perhaps the greatest benefit over other cover crops, is tillage radishes are a no-till alternative; always good for the land not to have to till. Maybe you guys should check them out if you haven't already. Great post, Mountain Woman. Enjoy your weekend.

Mountain Woman
7/20/2011 12:02:37 PM

Dave, Thanks for the info. I'm just starting the learning process. This post was definitely for someone who had never heard of the term and really it is such an interesting subject and so exciting to learn more about. It's amazing what can be accomplished using the earth's on resources to replenish. Thank you so much for your kind words. They mean so much to me.

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