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Many gardeners strive to improve the structure of the soil. To do this, they often use green dressings. With the right choice of green manure for specific crops, it is possible to saturate the soil with valuable substances. The use of sweet clover as a green manure is considered a very effective method. This plant provides the soil with everything you need and is considered undemanding to care for.
Melilot is called a herbaceous legume crop that can grow up to 2 meters in height. It is characterized by small flowers of different shades. There are a number of varieties of sweet clover - arctic, white, yellow, toothed.
The culture is considered undemanding to the composition of the soil. It is resistant to cold weather and needs good illumination. The plant sprouts quickly. With the arrival of spring, its shoots are often added to salads. Subsequently, the foliage is not suitable for this.
Pros and cons of sweet clover as a siderat
The use of a sweet clover has many advantages:
- the possibility of using for carbonate solonetzic soils;
- the ability to accumulate a lot of nitrogen;
- loosening the soil and improving its structure - this effect is achieved due to developed roots;
- reduction of soil salinity - this result is achieved due to the release of carbonic acid by the root system;
- top dressing of the soil - both the roots and the stems of the plant are considered fertilizer;
- soil rehabilitation - the culture easily copes with different types of rot, destroys nematodes and wireworms.
At the same time, sweet clover also has a number of disadvantages. These include the following:
- the formation of an abundance of greenery - if the shoots are not cut off in a timely manner, they become too tough and cannot be used as top dressing;
- the risk of developing powdery mildew;
- poor tolerance of acidic soil - sweet clover grows best in neutral soils.
Before what crops to sow
Melilot can be used for almost all cultivated plants. The only exceptions are legumes. The herb is often used as the first plant to be planted in very neglected or uncultivated soil.
It is especially effective to use sweet clover in front of potatoes, cucumbers, zucchini. It is also permissible to plant it in front of garden strawberries and bell peppers.
To achieve the required results, it is important to carry out the planting work correctly. In this case, it is worth considering a number of rules.
Before planting a plant as a green manure, it is recommended to pay attention to the preparation of the soil. It needs to be dug up and leveled, removing all large particles, the root system of plants, debris. Also, phosphorus and potassium fertilizers are required to be added to the soil.
Then, furrows must be made in the ground for planting the plant. Their depth should be 3 centimeters. It is important to ensure that the ground is not too wet. Groundwater should be at a depth of more than 1 meter. After planting is complete, it is recommended to roll in the soil.
To sow sweet clover in spring, it is recommended to do the following:
- Before planting, soak the sweet clover seeds in water and leave for 24 hours. This will speed up the growth processes and strengthen the seeds.
- For accelerated germination 1 month before planting, it is required to damage the hard shell of the seeds. To do this, wipe them with sandpaper. Thanks to this, the sprouts will appear in 1 week.
- If the soil is too dry, it needs to be well moistened.
- Planting seeds is required to a depth of about 2 centimeters. In this case, the interval between the rows is 55 centimeters, and between the plants - 25-30.
- After the germination of the sweet clover, the planting should be loosened. This is done until the plant reaches 10-15 centimeters in height.
Zarechny Maxim Valerievich
Agronomist with 12 years of experience. Our best summer cottage expert.
It can be quite difficult to adhere to the desired interval, since very small seeds are characteristic of the sweet clover. To facilitate planting, the grains must be mixed with sand and only then sown into the ground. They germinate within 2 weeks. After which it is worth thinning.
With this type of planting, the plants will begin to bloom in the first year. However, they will not have enough time for the seeds to ripen. This will only happen next year. If the sweet clover is grown exclusively as a green manure, it is not necessary to let it ripen until the seeds are ripe. Shoots can be cut much earlier.
Before planting, it is recommended to do the following:
- remove tops and weeds;
- loosen the soil - this is done to a depth of 3 centimeters;
- water the beds;
- scatter the sweet clover seeds and arrange in rows.
If the culture begins to form buds by the time the cold weather sets in, it must be mowed and left in the garden. When small shoots appear in severe frosts, the upper parts will die under the snow cover. At the same time, in the spring, the soil will be ready for planting the main plants. When planted late, sprouts will appear in the spring and begin to actively build up mass.
Mature crops do not need frequent watering as they are drought tolerant. However, they need to be fertilized with phosphorus and potassium.
When growing grass 2 years old, there is a risk of flooding its roots with melt water. This will lead to the death of the culture, as it will provoke rotting of the roots. This is the dignity of annual culture. It is planted in the spring and harvested in the fall.
It is important to avoid the rapid growth of the crop, since from some point on, coarse stems cannot be used as top dressing. Therefore, it is recommended to mow the sweet clover when buds are formed, when the stems grow up to 40-50 centimeters.
To trim the sweet clover, you should use a flat cutter. It is recommended to pre-treat the bushes with EM preparations. This improves the saturation of the soil with valuable elements.
Melilot is considered an effective green manure that helps to improve the structure of the soil. It is important to plant the grass correctly and provide it with adequate care.