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Organic gardeners have long known that those who want to do something good for the soil in the vegetable garden should not leave it "open" during the winter, but sow a green manure after the harvest. It protects the earth from strong temperature fluctuations and erosion due to heavy rainfall. In addition, the green placeholders promote a good crumb structure and enrich the soil with humus and nutrients.
Oil radish, rapeseed and mustard are popular as green manure plants for late sowing, but not the first choice for the vegetable garden. The reason: The cruciferous vegetables are related to the cabbage family and like most species susceptible to the cabbage hernia, a dreaded root disease.
The pathogen, a parasitic monocot known as Plasmodiophora brassicae, causes rooting and growth and is one of the most feared cabbage pests in crop production. Once there, he can stay active for up to 20 years. Therefore, one gets the problem only under control, if one adheres to a consistent crop rotation after the model of the four-field economy and waives cruciferous vegetables as catch crops.
A much less problematic green manure are the butterfly plants. What only a few know: In addition to the classics such as lupines and crimson clover, you can also simply sow peas. They reach in sowing until mid-September still slightly 20 centimeters growth height and die at stronger frosts by itself.
Field peas as green manure
For green manuring, choose the so-called field peas (Pisum sativum var. Arvense). They are also called field peas. The small-grained seed is inexpensive, germinates quickly and the plants provide a good soil cover when planted flat, so that hardly weeds can grow through. In addition, the topsoil is intensively rooted, which protects it from winter erosion. Like all butterflies (legumes), peas also live in symbiosis with so-called nodule bacteria. The bacteria live in thickened nodules at the roots and supply the plants with nitrogen, since they convert the atmospheric nitrogen into plant-available nutrients - the word "green manure" is to be taken literally in the case of peas and other butterfly plants.
In contrast to conventional sowing, in which several seeds are placed in shallow wells, sowing field peas as green manure easily nationwide and breitwürfig. To prepare for sowing, the harvested bed is loosened with a cultivator and after sowing, the seeds are raked flat with a wide rake into the loose soil. Finally, they are well-infused so they germinate quickly.
Dried field peas are relatively small and have very different shades
Compost or incorporate pea leaves
In winter, the green manure remains on the beds and then freezes, because field peas are not hardy. In the spring you can either chop off the dead plants and compost or mow them with a lawnmower and work them flat into the soil. It is important in both cases that the roots with the bacterial nodules remain in the soil - so the nitrogen contained can be used by the newly sowed vegetables. After incorporating the dead peas, wait at least four weeks to reorder the bed so that the soil can settle again. The soft shoots and leaves decompose very quickly in the soil and enrich it with valuable humus.