Green Manures

The educational materials listed on this page are about Green Manures.

Green manure plants are cover crops that are turned into the soil before they mature. Green manure crops, sometimes called green cover or green compost, are grown to suppress weeds and improve soil quality for the production of cash crops. In some permaculture systems, green manures are used for green mulch. Green manuring adds organic matter, nitrogen and other key nutrients as part of sustainable soil management plan. Green manures, along with other organic manures, can play an important role in sustainable crop rotations and soil fertility management. Green manure seeds are available from a wide range of seed dealers. Key practices include organic fertilizers, living mulchespermaculturenutrient cyclingcontinuous cropping and cover crops.

The Cover Crop Topic Room can help you learn more about green manure by uncovering the various benefits that cover crops can have on soil fertility and soil management. Another resource to help farmers understand green manure and cover crops is SARE’s book Building Soils for Better Crops. This book lays the foundation for understanding soil fertility, soil structure, and overall soil management, and includes alternative cover crops like green manures. SARE’s Crop Rotation on Organic Farms A Planning Manual is a resource for farmers looking to integrate crop rotation into their operation in a sustainable way to enhance organic matter through green manures.

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A Sunn Hemp Cover Crop for Soil Health and Nematode Management

These University of Hawaii fact sheets and virtual field day explain how to use sunn hemp as a cover crop to control weeds, nematodes and other pests, add soil nutrients, prevent erosion, and contribute to a more robust and complex community of beneficial nematodes. Available fact sheets include:

Sustainable Agriculture Farming Systems Project

Public concerns regarding pesticide misuse, food safety, water use and contamination, and depletion of non-renewable resources have motivated the reevaluation of some of the practices of conventional agriculture and the exploration of alternative, more sustainable approaches to growing food. In 1988, the Sustainable Agriculture Farming Systems (SAFS) project was established at the University of California’s […]

Fresh Growth Podcast

Fresh Growth: Approaches to a More Sustainable Future from Western Ag Practitioners introduces you to farmers and ranchers from around the western United States who are finding innovative sustainable practices that enrich the natural resources we all care about. These successful multi-generational operations experiment with new ideas and are making it pay. Listen in as […]