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What is Green Manure?

Image of clover field by Dotee S

We all know the benefits of manure in the garden. When you let horse and cow manure to age, you can add it to your garden to improve the soil’s nutrient level and its ability to retain water.

You can also see these same benefits when you plant a cover crop and then turn the cover crop into the ground before planting the next season of crops.

Examples of green manure or cover crops are:

  • Legumes – are plants that are able to take nitrogen from the atmosphere and deliver it to the roots where the bacteria in the soil
    • alfalfa
    • clover
    • and soybeans
  • Nonlegumes – are all other types of green manures
    • ryegrass
    • buckwheat
    • oats

Planting a green manure or cover crop in the fall prevents erosion of the soil due to wind and rain over the winter.