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Green Manure

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Re: Green Manure

Postby Dumbo » Aug 11, 2012 10:33 pm

Just figured I'd add to this...

Agriculture Canada (or it might have been Agri-Ontario) says buckwheat is useless (more or less) and doesn't add much biomass to increase CEC value.

They go on to say Rye and buckwheat aren't worth the hassle (more or less).

I find it like a slap in the face to all the American Agri-Uni's who say to plant these.

They state clover is the best (or one of the best).

That's all.
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Re: Green Manure

Postby RogerC » Aug 13, 2012 10:21 pm

Re: The fall/winter crop cover

I used winter rye last fall. I planted it in early October. It sprouted an inch or two and the got covered with snow. As soon as the snow was gone in March it started growing. I should have tilled it under at the end of April but was busy and I really wanted to see what it would do. I bought a used scythe and harvested it at the end of July when it was ripe and 7 feet tall. On August 8th I planted buckwheat. I plan to till it under at the end of September and plant winter rye again. This time I will till it under in early spring. That's the plan anyway....
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Re: Green Manure

Postby OGrubber » Aug 14, 2012 11:44 am

Dumbo wrote:Agriculture Canada (or it might have been Agri-Ontario) says buckwheat is useless (more or less) and doesn't add much biomass to increase CEC value.
..... aren't worth the hassle (more or less).
....They state clover is the best (or one of the best).


Well, for CEC value, I agree about buckwheat. However, as a smother crop or pollen crop it is outstanding.

You have to look at the whole picture, and decide what it is you want to accomplish first, and then decide how and with what you will accomplish this.
Keep in mind, all these are actual crops which can be harvested in one way or another if planted at the appropriate time to enable them to complete their cycle. When the cycle is intentionally interrupted these crops are known as either cover crops or green manures [depending on use/intent] or can be a combination of the two. Some crops can be all.

A couple of examples;
1]All clovers are good for bio-mass and nitrogen fixing, but not all clovers are equal. If you have hard-pan then a sweet clover would be the better choice over others. It gives the highest nitrogen fixing values per acre and a massive amount of bio-mass [compared to other clovers], but, the down side is that it's a lot more difficult to incorporate than a red clover and is not a good hay crop [feed].
2]If you have a perennial weed problem such as quack-grass or can.thistle, then a back to back cover of buckwheat will smother them out. The density of the canopy and it's quick growth makes it a good cover crop to keep other weeds from sprouting giving you a clean seed-bed for the next crop.

What I'm trying to say, is that most of these crops have 2 or more possible uses, and it's up to you to decide which will give you the most of what you want.
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Re: Green Manure

Postby Eeyore » Aug 14, 2012 3:06 pm

While we are on this topic what will alfalfa pellets do for my garden bed? What nutrients will it add if I work some in over the winter?
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Re: Green Manure

Postby davefrombc » Aug 14, 2012 3:52 pm

Out of curiosity, I did a little searching on "nutrients in composted alfalfa pellets" and came upon this page:
http://www.dfsgardenclub.org/organics/fertilizers.htm
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Re: Green Manure

Postby Mervyn » Aug 14, 2012 5:42 pm

davefrombc wrote:Out of curiosity, I did a little searching on "nutrients in composted alfalfa pellets" and came upon this page:
http://www.dfsgardenclub.org/organics/fertilizers.htm



That's an interesting idea.
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Re: Green Manure

Postby Dumbo » Aug 14, 2012 5:52 pm

alfalfa is ok, but that has to be planted early and left to grow. In Pellet form, from what I recall reading you lose more than 50% of the benefit. Mostly due to the drying method and whatever else to press it into a pellet. It's still good, but not anywhere as good as doing it yourself as a cover.

Same with clover, has to be planted early and to reap maximum benefit, left for an entire season. Maybe someone with a plot they won't use for a summer would do this.

OGrubber, yeah, that more or less sums it all up nicely.

Basically I was looking at two things, Increasing CEC value (cuz I'm very jealous of yours which is somewhere near 30 and mine is like 6), and it has to be plantable in Sept-Oct. So that leaves me really with winter Rye and buckwheat, both of which Agri-Canada (or it may have been Agri-Ontario) said it's not the best (aside from a smoother crop as you mention). But they state buckwheat decomposes the fastest.

So that all I'm looking for... CEC value increase so I can be elite like you. But it seems a home gardener with a large plot can't get this unless they plant clover and let it grow for a year.

I was planning on cutting it all down, tilling it in fast in April then dumping next years final load of triple mix over it (maybe 1.5 to 2 feet additional triple mix over it).

Unless you have grown clover you want to sell me, and work out how I'll get it here.

The way i'm starting to interpret this is that backyard garden people can only use buckwheat or winter-Rye.

I will have to get my last load of soil in early April, and the cover crop cut the first week of April since the city is digging a 20-foot chasm in front of my driveway (and my driveway) next spring to put in new sewer systems. So everything has to be done by the first week of April next year for me.

CEC values is what I'm after. CEC value based on what we discussed in the "soil analysis topic" is the way to go above all other methods. But I can't do clover due to time constraints it seems.

Unless you have other thoughts on this. Or advice on what you would do. Like I said further up, I can get all this stuff to plant, it's cheap, but also not a great CEC contributor for late season green manure planting.

Also, I would pick up a trailer load of manure to rot over fall and spring, but I can't find any by trailer load.

You input is very much welcome.
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Re: Green Manure

Postby Dumbo » Aug 14, 2012 6:04 pm

RogerC wrote:Re: The fall/winter crop cover

I used winter rye last fall. I planted it in early October. It sprouted an inch or two and the got covered with snow. As soon as the snow was gone in March it started growing. I should have tilled it under at the end of April but was busy and I really wanted to see what it would do. I bought a used scythe and harvested it at the end of July when it was ripe and 7 feet tall. On August 8th I planted buckwheat. I plan to till it under at the end of September and plant winter rye again. This time I will till it under in early spring. That's the plan anyway....

Is there any method to your madness? That is to say, any reason why you did it this way? Either way, let us know how this turns out for you and how big of as job it turned out to be.
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Re: Green Manure

Postby Dumbo » Aug 14, 2012 7:55 pm

For anyone interested

I *think* this is the Canadian site I was looking at a few days ago:
http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/cro ... rcrops.htm

There were more links, as in new recent studies done showing what was claimed to be more or less a waste of time (buckwheat was included in that). But I can't find them at the moment. Pretty sure I found the Canadian studies referenced here http://www.organicagcentre.ca/index_e.asp which in turn had the links to the Agri-Ontario studies. Can't recall the search term I used on that organic site that brought up the studies. But some of the info seems to contradict the American counter parts.
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Re: Green Manure

Postby OGrubber » Aug 15, 2012 9:44 am

Lyn,
Alfalfa pellets will only give you a nitrogen boost without adding any P or K. If you do go with them, I would incorporate early spring as opposed to the fall to get the best bang for your buck. Give them a couple of weeks in moist soil to decompose before planting, though.

Marc,
CEC values don't happen overnight.
Anything organic that is incorporated into the soil will contribute, including w.rye.
I'm not sure how much hardscaping or how much room you have in your yard, but here are a few ideas/possibilities;
1] Make a second veg bed, seed it to clover and alternate between the two beds every second year. [basically a "moving" patch of clover in your lawn]
2] Strip plant within your existing bed, and rotate your strips [this will reduce your actual annual veg planting space though]
3] Till clover or alfalfa hay into your soil each fall. [ you will probably need to have a way of chopping the hay so that it doesn't tangle in the tiller tines]
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