Sunday, 6 September 2009

Sweet Clover

Green manures are essential for organic farmers and growers. They are crops that are used to cover the soil, improve soil structure, reduce leaching and increase fertility.

Leguminous plants are special in that they fix nitrogen in nodules on their roots, which makes them invaluable as a part of sustainable agriculture or horticulture.  Legumes can fix as much, or more nitrogen in the soil than could be applied using bags of nitrogen fertiliser - and with a mere fraction of the vast greenhouse gas emissions that are associated with artificial fertiliser.

This is sweet clover, not a true clover (Melilotus officinalis) that is very vigorous and is capable of growing six feet in 12 weeks!! It will be incorporated in to the soil after 6-18 months, providing masses of soil fertility to the next crop. The white or yellow flowers are very much appreciated by bees.