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How to Use Cover Crop as a Natural Green Manure

January 2, 2020


Hi I’m Tricia, an organic gardener, I grow
organically for a healthy and safe food supply for a clean and sustainable environment for an enjoyable and rewarding
experience We’re here with Greg, from Greg’s Organics and he’s got an urban farm right here in
downtown Grass Valley his cover crop is ready to get tilled in and worked into the soil. Yes and I hear your going to have a tomato CSA with how many varieties? um ten cherries, or twelve cherries and thirty five heirlooms. Awesome thank you so much for letting us demonstrate the benefits of cover crops in your
field. Anytime. You want to incorporate your cover crops before
it goes to seed and then you want to let it decompose so that it can benefit the crop that
you’re gonna play afterward a good indicator for when to knock down
the cover crop is when one half of the crop is flowering this allows you to take advantage of
maximum biomass you can also time when you’re gonna
incorporate the cover crop into the soil based on when your next crop is going to
be planted and you want allow at least three to six weeks before planting your
next crop it’s important to wait because your
cover crop will be decomposing and during this decomposition process
you will temporarily lock up some of the nitrogen in the soil there’s several ways to incorporate
your cover crop into the ground you can cut it and compost it, you can weed-eat it or mow it and just let it lay there on the ground or you can till it into the ground. Tilling it in is the fastest and easiest way to
incorporate your cover crops just roto-till the crops into the ground the advantages to this method are faster
decomposition and less nitrogen loss into the
atmosphere the disadvantage is that you don’t get the marching effect of leaving the crop
on the surface of the soil so no weed suppression or water
conservation while the crop decomposes another method is to cut it and then take it and compost it the advantages are that you adding finished
nutrient rich compost back into the field this is a great option for raised bed
cover cropping. The disadvantage is that it’s more work to cut, compost and then add the compost
back into the soil and it can take several months instead
of weeks and finally you can just cut the cover
crop down, let it lay there on the soil surface as a mulch as it decomposes
and this will help with water conservation and weed suppression the three main methods of cutting down
cover crops are undercutting, mowing and rolling.
Undercutting is when you draw a blade under the soil and you slice the cover
crop underneath the soil for mowing your going to mow down the crop
with your lawn mower a weed whacker or a scythe this chops the crop up fairly finely
and it will decompose fairly quickly i’m gonna be using this Core weed trimmer it’s battery-powered and that means
there’s less noise, no fumes and it works really well for a weed trimmer or scythe to get nice
small pieces that will decompose quickly you can trim the tops and then cut at the middle and then cut right at the ground you can also roll the crop by going
over them with the lawn mower or the tiller with the blades turned off bear in mind that rolling doesn’t always
kill all of the cover crop rolling and undercutting provide maximum
weed suppression since there’s so much biomass lying on top of the soil acting as a mulch the disadvantage of this method is that you can loose a little bit of nitrogen into the air and it may not decompose as quickly as
putting it into the soil with the tiller if you want your cover crop to decompose
a little bit quicker you can spray it with an inoculant like this field and garden
spray cover copping is the cornerstone of
organic gardening and it will help you save on fertilizers so plant a cover crop and grow organic for life.

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