Sunday, 27 June 2010

Green Manure - Forage Pea

  • Forage Pea is a member of the legume family that is excellent at fixing nitrogen and has deep penetrative roots that help to break up the soil. 
  • Forage peas are notable for their ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen, thanks to a symbiotic relationship with bacteria (rhizobia) found in root nodules of these plants. The ability to form this symbiosis reduces fertilizer costs, and allows legumes to be used in a crop rotation to replenish soil that has been depleted of nitrogen. 
  • The nitrogen fixation ability of legumes is enhanced by the availability of calcium in the soil and reduced by the presence of ample nitrogen.
  • It can grow up to 1 metre (3'3") tall.
  • Forage Pea is excellent for over wintering and can be sown from September to November. 
  • It has good weed suppressing qualities but its foliage is not as bulky as some other green manures that overwinter.
  • It could be sown with a lower growing green manure like red clover if weed suppression was paramount and adding lots of bulky organic matter in spring is required. 
  • It is however good enough as a weed suppressor to use on its own too.
  • The top-growth can be composted or dug into the soil to decompose, adding to the quality of the soil.
  • The crop should be cut down before it goes to seed, otherwise descendant peas will become a regular weed.

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