Amaranth widespread on the globe. This is a genus of annual herbaceous plants, very diverse in height, leaf color, shape of inflorescences.
Botanists distinguish more than 60 species within this vast genus, among which there are wild, weed and cultivated ones. All species are small-seeded (up to 1.5-2 thousand seeds per 1 g), however, seed productivity can reach 100 g per plant, and seeds remain viable for more than 10 years.
Why is amaranth valuable?
In the second half of the 20th century, an in-depth study of this plant began. Chemists, physiologists, technologists, agronomists, experts in the field of animal husbandry and public catering joined the research.
Studies have shown that amaranth seeds and leaves are rich in protein, and the leaves are a valuable source of ascorbic acid, carotene, rutin and other biologically active substances. It contains a lot of lysine, an essential amino acid, the lack of which is felt in a number of other plant proteins, for example, in the protein of corn, wheat.
When studying the photosynthesis of this plant, it was found that amaranth has a very high photosynthetic activity even under adverse weather conditions, and its leaves are located so as not to shade each other and to maximize the use of solar energy. This contributes to the fact that in a relatively short growing season, plants are able to accumulate a large vegetative mass.
Some cultivated species (hybrid amaranth, caudate amaranth) turned out to be suitable for livestock feed not only fresh, but also in the form of protein concentrates, as well as in silage mixed with plants with a high sugar content (corn, sorghum) and with herbs.
The concentrated protein mass extracted from the green mass of amaranth was proposed to be used as a valuable protein supplement in human nutrition. The addition of amaranth flour to wheat flour, as studies have shown, not only improves the taste of baked goods (cookies, muffins), but also makes them more useful. Technologists also proposed a recipe for the use of amaranth flour in the manufacture of dairy products such as sour cream, yoghurts. A study of the oil isolated from amaranth seeds has shown that it has a number of medicinal properties.
The coloring matter from the leaves of red-leaved varieties was recommended as a natural food coloring instead of synthetic dyes, and the starch from amaranth seeds, which has a very fine structure, was recommended for use in perfumery and cosmetic production.
In the conditions of the North-West of Russia, it is impractical to grow amaranth for the purpose of obtaining seeds. This plant is not frost-resistant, and its seeds do not have time to ripen in a short summer. But as a vegetable plant that replaces spinach and is not inferior to it in productivity and quality of greens, amaranth can be used.
A number of amaranth varieties have been created by Russian breeders. The Valentin variety has been zoned as a vegetable. However, varieties for fodder purposes, such as Shuntuk, Kizlyarets, Podmoskovny, Cherginsky, are suitable for use as a vegetable crop in the vegetative phase.
Amaranth is sown in the ground when the threat of frost passes, the soil warms up well and weeds germinate. Before sowing, weeds are removed by harrowing. Seeds are sown with row spacing of 50-70 cm, embedding them to a depth of 0.5-1.0 cm.
Seedlings appear on the 5-8th day after sowing. At the first stages, they grow slowly, but already with the appearance of the 3-4th leaf, growth accelerates, the plants quickly gain vegetative mass, suppress weeds and are not afraid of thickening. At a height of 25-30 cm, the plants are harvested by the roots or cut off, leaving a stump of about 10 cm. Amaranth grows well after cutting from the buds in the lower part of the shoot. Leaves and young shoots can be stewed, fried, baked, used in soups and fresh as a salad. They can be prepared for future use by freezing, canning and drying.
It is advisable to use amaranth as a green manure, it is a good green fertilizer that enriches the soil with nitrogen.
candidate of biological sciences
Varieties of Amaranth
Today, a huge number of species are known that, in natural outdoor conditions, grow in regions with a warm and temperate climate. The category of the most popular and well-known amaranth species is represented by tricolor, tailed, crimson, paniculate, upturned and common shiritsa.
It has very beautiful hanging thin inflorescences that resemble a fox's tail. The most popular ornamental variety is Viridis with green or creamy buds. A wonderful honey plant.
Tricolor (A. tricolor) has rather narrow, sometimes wavy, tricolor leaves with red, yellow and green color. The inflorescences are erect, strongly vigorous. Decorative varieties include FlamingFountains, Illumination and Joseph's Coat.
Paniculate (A. cruentus, syn. A. paniculatus) is characterized by the presence of a brownish-red shade of leaves and drooping or vertical inflorescences with original hanging tips. Ornamental varieties include Zwergfackel, GrueneFackel, PygmyTorch and RoterDom.
Vegetable amaranth was grown as a cereal crop, but today it is recommended for use fresh, boiled, fried and dried. Most often it has a dark green or purple color. The category of the most popular varieties includes "Zdorovyak", "Valentina", "In memory of Kvasov", "White sheet", "Kharkovskaya-1" and "Shuntuk".
Indoor amaranths grow well in standard medium-sized flower pots. Planting seedlings or growing from seed requires the use of a versatile soil for flowering ornamental plants.
Amaranth 'Valentina' - appreciated both the benefits and the taste!
Here is such a useful handsome man growing up with me: an amaranth named Valentine. But I was not going to plant him. But first things first.
Amaranth. Photo July 30, 2020
How amaranth appeared on our site
A friend asked me to buy her vegetable amaranth seeds. Which I did, I bought two varieties of seeds. Especially without delving into why it is needed. I thought that she had heard enough of advertisements on the radio, but we somehow lived without amaranth and will still live. And suddenly, at the end of May, she brings me both bags and says:
- Plant, I have seeds left, you have a lot of space. He's very helpful.
Sowed. The seeds are small, just sprinkled the ground and loosened a little. And I myself think, how do its seedlings look like? Can I distinguish them from weeds? There was something to think about. After all, a wild amaranth, a weed of the shiritsa, was already growing on my site.
This is what the packaging looked like:
Sowed very densely, so it grows. It was necessary to make a distance of at least 30 cm between the bushes, I have at least 10 cm. Strong bushes have grown, up to 1 m, and begin to bloom, the weak ones remained small below.
Simple as that!
The seeds of the cultivated amaranth, as it seemed to me, did not germinate for a long time. And suddenly ... In the morning I looked - it was not, and in the evening everyone jumped out! Such joy :) They could not be confused, especially amaranth Valentina. The color is outstanding! I love him very much. Restrained burgundy - so, probably, you can call it.
Amaranth Valentine is growing up, June 20, 2020
The care is simple: I removed the weeds and watered (first the seeds to sprout during a drought, and then, while I was small). I like such unpretentious cultures!
By the way, amaranth, judging by the tap root system, is an excellent green manure. Only the roots must be left in the ground. It is one year old, will penetrate deeply into the soil and become precious organic matter. For me, this is so important that now I will definitely plant amaranth on problem areas.
And what to do with it
The advertisements always talk about amaranth seeds. And the leaves contain all the same nutrients as the seeds. Only the quantities are different.
It would be necessary to write a separate article about the benefits of amaranth, there are so many interesting things. I will note what is important for us:
- There are no contraindications.
- It is useful for diabetes mellitus.
- Rejuvenates the skin.
- Lots of vitamins, plus healthy amino acids.
- Helps to strengthen the walls of blood vessels.
- Helps to cope with anemia.
- Reduces the risk of cancer.
- It turns out that the juice from the leaves of amaranth is used for baby food.
- And, of course, it boosts immunity.
- Leaves can be added to salads, to filling for pies, because they are healthy.
The question arises: are the leaves tasty? Not. Nothing special. Therefore, there was no inspiration to experiment with salads and fillings. Although the leaf is tender, it would clearly be appropriate in many dishes. So, you need to try amaranth tea.
This year I started to appreciate leaf teas. Currants, apple trees, blackberries, raspberries ... It was a pity to collect a lot of leaves. After all, they are needed for fruiting. And just a little, they take a hit from insects, fungi and bacteria on themselves. Amaranth leaves are not a pity, new ones grow and grow, pluck and pluck. Therefore, of course, I tried to make tea. And I am very pleased with the result.
I wanted to do three samples:
- just a dry leaf,
- fresh leaf.
To make a fermented tea, you needed unwashed leaves. And both varieties of amaranth were ruthlessly attacked by aphids. I spoiled her life with Fitoverm. After that, it was necessary to wash the leaves, although a lot of time had passed.
For tea, I chose Valentina for her beautiful color (another variety is green). I brewed a little, because all medicinal should be in small quantities.
I compared tea made from dry and fresh leaves.
The effect is the same. Therefore, I describe it as one tea.
Brewed with boiling water, covered. After 10 minutes you could drink - both the color and the taste were already there. I got this drink:
The leaves gave all the color to the tea, they themselves turned green. The taste is tea! With delicate fruit and berry notes. And when it stands a little longer, it slightly resembles an infusion of nettle. If you make this tea, drink it after 10 minutes. Delicious.
It remains to get acquainted with the seeds! Amaranth is translated as “unfading flower”. This is how these beautiful flowers will grow, I will cut them off, put them in an open cloth bag so that the seeds fall there and the flowers dry out.
It is quite possible to collect seeds from vegetable amaranth (there are also fodder, grain and decorative amaranth). The amount will be scanty, just try it. Maybe we can make amaranth oil.
Amaranth is a rare all-rounder: beautiful, healthy and tasty
There are such amazing plants, the applications of which are a lot and the most diverse: they are irresistible in the flower garden, they are useful in the garden, and you can eat, and harvest the harvest, and look amazing in winter bouquets. Also, every livestock uses this plant with pleasure and benefit. Even, sometimes you do not know where it is better to apply. So, you need to grow a lot of different things! All of the above fully applies to amaranth, a strikingly unpretentious monumental annual. Here we will talk about him.
Amaranth is a rare all-rounder: beautiful, healthy and tasty
Amaranth plant. Growing amaranth. Amaranth care
Among the flowers there are not only beautiful plants, but also edible, useful and medicinal plants. Medicines are prepared from them, and there are even several edible dishes in which the plant is the basis. And one of these multifaceted representatives of the flora includes amaranth.
Description and features of amaranth
This plant has several names - shiritsa, cockscombs, velvet, and the word amaranth means unfading. This name was given to the plant because of its peculiarity to decorate itself with flowering for a long time (up to 2 months).
There are about 15 species of this flower, which are perennial and annual. These are very tall (up to three meters) plants, with many juicy green, purple or red leaves, arranged alternately and having a diamond-shaped, lanceolate or ovoid shape.
Small red flowers are collected in spikelets or panicles, and amaranth seeds can be black, pink, greenish or yellow. Amaranth inflorescences retain their beautiful appearance for a long time and do not fade. The fruit is in the form of a capsule, contains seeds, with a total number of up to 500 thousand seeds per plant.
Most of the species grows in the Caucasus. As amaranth plant possesses medicinal properties, it has been cultivated for more than 8 thousand years. Along with corn, it began to be grown in South America, using grains to produce the "drink of immortality" - amarita.
During the Aztec sacrifice amaranth herb presented to the deities. But when uninvited guests - conquistadors - came to these lands, the flower was practically destroyed, and they stopped using it on such a scale as before. But in the 16th century, the plant was brought to Europe and even the Order of the Amaranth Knights was established.
Slavic peoples also ranked it among the plants that prolong life, because the name itself consisted of the particle "A" - meaning negation, and "Mara" - the name of the goddess of death.
They baked bread from the plant, gave it to babies, always took it with them on the road, as a source of strength. But with time amaranth flower banned from eating, and he became just an ornamental plant.
The species growing in the wild was intended for livestock feed. Now amaranth grows almost everywhere - in all countries and on all continents, except perhaps Antarctica.
Planting and reproduction of amaranth
Growing amaranth is not difficult. This is an unpretentious plant that can easily endure both drought and frost, and the soil for it can be any. The only requirement is not to plant it on swampy soils, the flower will not grow there.
Also, do not sow seeds on steep slopes, where they can be washed out of the soil by rains. You need to start preparing the soil in the fall. The soil is dug to a depth of 20 cm, fertilized with humus, ash and other compounds containing useful substances.
With the arrival of spring heat, the soil is dug up again, weeded and fertilized again. It is necessary to wait for the soil to warm up to 6 С⁰ at a depth of 5 cm. The seeds must be prepared, mixed with ash, sawdust.
You can also plant seeds before winter, choosing a time just before the soil freezes. They are not deeply buried, a depth of 1-2 cm is enough. The consumption of such planting material as seeds is approximately 15 grams per 1 hundred square meters of land.
The seedlings that appear after a couple of weeks need to be thinned out, just like any other plants, so that the amaranth grows more actively, and it has enough strength and nutrition.
In addition to planting with seeds, it is possible to plant amaranth and seedlings. So the plant will grow much faster than waiting for seeds to sprout. Seedlings have been prepared since April, the seeds are planted in pots, then the seedlings are thinned and dived.
In early May, you can plant them in open ground. The distance between the plants should be 10-12 cm, the roots go almost 2 meters into the ground.
Deciding to grow curative flower amaranth, you need to know how to properly care for him. While the plant is small, you need to water it on time, especially on hot days, so as not to dry out the root system. Later, an adult crop will easily tolerate drought.
As for fertilizing with fertilizers, it is enough to carry out it 3 times for the entire season. Both a store mix and any available fertilizers - compost, manure, ash - are suitable.
Like any crop, amaranth must be weeded, especially when the plant is still small. Adult flowers usually do not overgrow with weeds very much. It is a good idea to mulch a piece of land around the stem. In order for the plant to branch, the bush becomes lush and thicker, it is necessary to pinch its tops.
The benefits and harms of amaranth
The benefits of amaranth huge, it can be called the king of useful plants. Use any parts that are easily absorbed in the body of both humans and animals. From delicate leaves, you can prepare salads, snacks, dry them and add them to spices and teas.
The seeds are added to baked goods and baby food. Extracts and oils from amaranth are used in perfume recipes. Medicine has also adopted this plant, and it is used by both traditional healers and modern pharmacists.
There are several main useful properties of amaranth:
the ability to regulate hormonal balance in the body
the ability to cleanse the body of harmful effects, deposits and accumulations, such as toxins, toxins
general strengthening of the body and immunity
contributing to the rapid recovery of a person after serious illnesses and exposure to strong drugs
the presence of squalene in the plant allows you to fight the formation of malignant tumors.
In addition to such understandable useful properties, the amaranth plant is a source of a new substance - amarantine. Scientists have found this source of acceleration of the body in the grass and consider it curative.
Not only the stems and leaves are used for food, the seeds are also very valuable. They are used to prepare oils that are very useful and are quite expensive. This product is used as a bactericidal, immunostimulating, antitumor and anti-inflammatory agent.
Such a beneficial effect on the body is due to a large number of useful substances, such as A, PP, C, E, vitamins of group B. Also, amaranth contains potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, sodium, manganese, selenium, iron, copper, zinc.
The grains of the plant are rich in protein with a high content of lysine - an essential amino acid for our body. Various decoctions are prepared from the juice of the plant, which are used to treat the gastrointestinal tract, throat diseases, and strengthen immunity.
Like any medicinal plant, amaranth can be harmful. For example, its seeds should not be consumed by people with liver and gallbladder diseases. Due to the risk of allergic reactions and individual intolerance, treatment with amaranth should be started with caution and under the supervision of doctors.
In the photo paniculate amaranth
There are several different types of amaranth, and they also have different uses. For example, amaranth paniculata is often used for making bouquets and decorating flower beds. The grass looks beautiful in winter compositions.
Amaranth tailed is a large, powerful bush, 75-150 cm high. It is an annual with beautiful paniculate inflorescences drooping as it grows. It is most often grown by seedlings.
In the photo, amaranth tailed
Amaranth tricolor it is distinguished by its color - it combines green, red and yellow colors. This is a very beautiful plant, pyramidal in shape with an erect stem.
In the photo there is a tricolor amaranth
Amaranth is a fairly productive crop, from one hectare, with proper care, you can collect more than one and a half tons of nutrients in the form of leaves, stems, seeds.
Amaranth home care
Temperature conditions. Not less than 6 ° С, homemade amaranth does not tolerate frost.
Growing amaranth - lighting. Direct sun or light shade on a hot summer afternoon is desirable.
Care, how to grow amaranth. The cultivation technology is simple, homemade amaranth is easily grown in room culture and does not require special care, although it is considered an open field plant.
Substrate. In soils with neutral pH, some species are adapted to grow in acidic soils. The soil is sandy, medium-loamy, well-drained with a large amount of nitrogen and phosphorus.
Amaranth growing conditions - top dressing. Plants will benefit from additional irrigation during dry periods and the addition of fertilizer once or twice throughout the growing season, however, when growing amaranth as a food crop, inorganic fertilizers should not be given - they accumulate in the leaves and the plant becomes unusable.
Appointment. In addition to the fact that amaranth itself is a valuable ornamental plant, it has a lot of useful properties. The plant looks great in hanging baskets where the drooping buds are best seen. Can be used in flower beds and along garden paths. Amaranth oil has medicinal properties and is used in the cosmetic industry to treat eczema. Various parts of amaranth are edible and used in cooking. The seeds, for example, are used in foods, amaranth flour is added to bread and pasta, while the leaves and stems are suitable for salads. Paniculate inflorescences look good as dried flowers. Amaranth seed groats - quinoa are used in the preparation of cereals.
Flowering time. From July to frost.
Air humidity. No special requirements
Soil moisture. Medium intensity watering. Amaranth plants are resistant to drought and temperature extremes.
Amaranth landing, transfer. When growing at home, a transplant is not required, the plants are annual.
Reproduction, sowing amaranth. Amaranth flower propagates by seed. Amaranth seeds should not be sown outdoors until all danger of frost has passed. Seeds should be sown to a depth of 1 - 2 cm. The seedlings are thinned so that the spacing in the rows is at least 20 cm. Lowering the temperature during the night helps seed germination. The plant blooms about three months after sowing.
Pests and diseases. There are no major problems. Root rot can occur due to high humidity and poor drainage. Sensitive to fungal diseases, leaf spot.
Note. The use of amaranth is possible in a wide variety of qualities. The leaves and stems can be eaten cooked like spinach. Yellow and green dyes are obtained from some plant species. Since ancient times, amaranth has been used as a grain crop - amaranth flour has been added to bread. Cold-pressed amaranth oil is used in cooking for the preparation and dressing of all kinds of dishes, as it contains many trace elements and vitamins. When planting, carefully read the description of the amaranth variety - some plants can grow up to 2.5 m in height. Amaranth is a plant that often self-propagates and behaves like an aggressive weed. The green mass of amaranth is often used for animal feed. Recently, amaranth is often used for cultivation as a microgreen.
A reference table with descriptions of the best green manure from the family of cereals, Compositae, amaranth, etc.
|Green manure plant||Description and properties|
Oats as green manure are best suited for acidic and peaty soils, grows worse on salt marshes and sandy soils. The roots of oats contain substances that destroy the causative agent of root rot. Oats are also good at suppressing weeds. If the area allows, you can allocate a separate area for oats and sow it twice: in spring and summer.
Rye grows well in any soil, excellent for the development of virgin lands. But it is worth remembering its property to dry out the soil. Therefore, rye and other cereals are actively used in areas prone to waterlogging.
Barley is very good for early spring planting, it can withstand frosts down to -5 ° C.
Buckwheat leaves behind colins (substances that inhibit the development of subsequent plants) less than other green manure plants.
Buckwheat as a green manure is recommended to be used on poor, acidic and heavy soils. It will grow anywhere, and after mowing will significantly enrich the soil with phosphates and potassium. Suppresses perennial weeds, especially wheatgrass.
In addition to all of the above advantages, phacelia has phytosanitary properties. It scares away wireworms, nematodes and prevents the development of pathogens of fungal and viral diseases. In this regard, we repeat: you do not know which green manure is best suited for your soil, plant phacelia, you will not go wrong.
Since amaranth is thermophilic, it is planted either in late spring in a specially designated area, or in the summer after harvesting early crops.
Calendula repels the Colorado potato beetle, therefore it is often grown in joint plantings with potatoes and eggplants. It is the best green manure for tomatoes.
We remind you of one of the basic rules of green manure, which is especially important in the case of cereals - the soil is not dug up after the green manure. Try to dig up the area where the rye grew - it's a hell of a job! The green mass must be cut and used as mulch or composted, and the roots must be left in the ground. There they will rot themselves without our help and will release a lot of nutrients into the soil.
Therefore, after sowing winter cereals or other green manures, cut them 2-3 weeks before planting the main crop, only slightly loosen the ground on the surface and plant vegetables. But even in this case, the sense and noticeable effect of sideration will not appear immediately, but several seasons later.
We wish you success and big harvests!
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It is impossible to imagine a single gardener who would not be sick with all his heart for his favorite work. And if you can still count the number of hours that such a person spends on ennobling his summer cottage, then it is impossible to measure the power of love and care invested in fertile land.
Of course, it's great if you got a piece of land on which everything grows - from flowers to potatoes, and gives a rich harvest.
But what if the fertility of the summer cottage leaves much to be desired? How to improve the structure of the soil by enriching it with organic matter? And what exactly will help in this difficult matter?
The solution is simple: you need to use green manure plants, which are purposefully planted in the soil before other plants appear on the plot. They have an incredibly powerful root system, which determines their beneficial effect on the soil: deeply penetrating into the ground, green manures carefully and carefully loosen it, pulling up the beneficial microelements found in the lower layers.
What are the green manure plants?
Surely you are thinking why we started talking about siderates on the site dedicated to amaranth - an amazing plant, it is impossible to assess the benefits and beneficial effects of which on the human body in a nutshell. But the fact of the matter is that amaranth can also be used as a green manure, moreover, with a high degree of effectiveness.
In this article, we will tell you how to use this plant to increase the fertility of your soil. But first, let's note which plants belong to the siderates.
In total, there are about 400 species of such crops in the world and they are all conditionally divided into main groups:
Cereals. These include rye, oats, barley, wheat. These crops perfectly fertilize any soil, including acidic, loamy, replenishing them with potassium and nitrogen reserves, increasing the level of moisture penetration and protecting against weeds.
Legumes, which include clover, soy and lupine. It is necessary to plant these plants on light and medium-heavy soils, which, thanks to such plants, are saturated with nitrogen, loosened up and bring poorly soluble phosphates to the surface.
Cruciferous. These include mustard and oil radish. These crops are used on all types of soils, except for acidic media, which they loosen qualitatively, prevent the subsequent leaching of mineral elements and give an increased volume of green mass.
Buckwheat (buckwheat), which must be planted in heavy, poor soils. As a result, the land becomes looser, more structured, and enriched with organic matter.
Hydrophilic - Phacelia, which can be planted on any land. It improves its structure, increases breathability and can even change the pH balance to neutral.
Composite, which include sunflowers, can be planted on any type of soil, because due to their presence in the ground, subsequent plants will gain green mass well.
Finally, amaranth, which are just perfect for any soil. However, it is better if you plant them in light loamy and soddy-podzolic soil. The strong roots of the plant will loosen the soil, saturate it with nitrogen and improve fertility.
What will planting amaranth in the garden or summer cottage give?
Amaranth is a plant that is more commonly used for the subsequent production of useful seeds, leaves and stems, which are used for animal feed, for cooking and as a medicine. However, such a valuable quality of a plant as the saturation of leaves with useful trace elements cannot be discounted if we are talking about fertility.
Amaranth can qualitatively increase soil fertility, while not requiring, as a culture, special growing conditions.
It is so unique and unpretentious that it can grow even on a salt marsh. What he does not like is waterlogging, but he is able to endure a short-term drought and resist pests and diseases.
Amaranth roots are so strong that they can penetrate 2 meters into the soil, thereby improving its structure.
Rules for planting amaranth as a siderat plant
Remember: you can not plant siderates, like the predecessors of garden crops, if they belong to the same family. In other words, it is not worth sowing buckwheat where it is planned to plant cabbage or beets in the future.
In order to plant amaranth in a garden or summer cottage, you need to know the following:
- it should be done in late spring, if we are talking about land specially allotted for this
- you can plant amaranth as a siderat in the summer, immediately after harvesting early crops
- before sowing, you need to mix 2 teaspoons of plant seeds with 1 glass of sand, rolling it a little to contact the ground
- the planting rate for amaranth is 15 grams per hundred square meters of land
- during the growth of the plant, you need to feed it with ash, as well as manure or herbal infusion
- it is worth collecting green mass right before the very frosts or before the beginning of flowering.
Here is such a magic amaranth, which you can grow not only as an ornamental and medicinal plant, but also as a green manure, fertilizing the earth and giving it such an important quality as fertility. Sow it in the country and you will see how vegetables, berries and fruits become the most delicious and healthy in the whole district! Have a good harvest and follow the broadcast!
To improve the composition and restore the structure of the soil, and for the enrichment of nutrients, some plants are widely used in organic farming, which are called green fertilizers or siderates.
Some believe that they take their name from the Latin word sidus, meaning a star. Although the French scientist of the XIX century J. Ville, who proposed to call these plants "siderates", apparently proceeded from the French word sidérant or striking. Whatever word underlies the name "siderata", they both fit and correctly characterize this type of plant.
From time immemorial, green manure plants have been used by nature and man as a natural fertilizer. Now undeservedly forgotten.
Of course, such a "green fertilization" requires a much greater investment of time and additional attention. At first glance, it is easier and faster to use the products of the chemical industry for plant nutrition, because mineral fertilizers will perfectly cope with this task. However, nature for millions of years managed on its own and did not resort to the help of artificial synthesis. And the taste of a vegetable, fruit or berry grown without chemicals, is it really an insufficient reward for work and patience?
Siderata are plants that quickly gain green mass, which are mowed and embedded in the soil, or left on the surface as a soil protective layer, and the roots of plants remaining in the ground rot, enriching it and forming air ducts. At the same time, they will only decorate your site, since most of them are a beautiful type of plant.
♦ Enrich the soil with nitrogen - after the death of the root system and the aboveground part of the plant, organic matter containing nitrogen passes into the soil.
♦ Loosens the soil and improves its structure - overgrown roots leave numerous tubules, thereby improving the water and air regime of the soil.
♦ Protect the soil from erosion - green manure, as it were, sew the soil from the inside with roots and at the same time cover it with a dense leaf cover on the surface.
♦ Enrich the soil with nutrients - nutrition is extracted from the lower layers, inaccessible to many cultivated plants, thanks to the deeply penetrating powerful root system.
♦ Suppress the growth of weeds - due to thickened plantings, as well as specific secretions of the roots.
♦ With solid sowing, green manure plants in hot summer time do not allow the soil to overheat, keeping it moist and cool.
♦ Suppress the reproduction of pests and diseases - again thanks to the specific secretions of the roots.
♦ Shade the soil - after cutting or dying off, the green mass serves as a natural mulch.
♦ Enrich the soil with organic matter - under the influence of microorganisms and worms, plant residues are converted into humus.
♦ Reproduction of earthworms and soil-forming microorganisms - this is facilitated by a sufficient amount of nutrition and the absence of disturbance from constant mechanical and chemical soil treatment.
♦ Getting rid of soil fatigue - microorganisms, multiplying well in a favorable environment, have time to process all root secretions, including inhibitors.
Also, green manure is used in gardens to improve the composition of the soil and its structuring. The main purpose of growing green fertilizers in the garden is to protect the soil from weeds, weathering and crust formation on the surface of the earth after rain and watering. But it is worth remembering that in this case it is necessary to have sufficient moisture in the soil, otherwise garden plants will suffer.
If the soil is severely depleted and low fertile, then the siderates should be grown for a full gardening season - from early spring to late autumn and winter, and next spring, cutting off some and embedding them in the ground, the next ones are immediately sown to fill the soil with nutrients as much as possible. In this case, the site is completely occupied by green manure plants.
Sowing winter green manures, after clearing the beds from garden plants, protects the soil from wind and water erosion, and the green manures left for the winter retain snow, which contributes to less freezing of the soil and saturation of it with moisture.
If soil fertility is at medium and high levels, then green fertilizers can be sown before or after the main crop, or in mixed plantings - the main crop and green manures are simultaneously grown on the same plot (combining in one bed, a bed through a bed).
As siderates in garden plots, mainly annuals are used, less - perennials, most often from the legume family and plants that give a powerful green mass and have phytosanitary properties.
To choose a green fertilizer that precedes the main crop, it is necessary to take into account that plants of the same family often consume the same nutrients from the soil, have common diseases and pests, therefore it is desirable that the green manure and the main crop are not from the same family.
Who can be a green manure from plants?
Legumesis probably the most numerous and famous species. These are herbaceous plants capable of "extracting" nitrogen from the air. These include: peas, chickpeas, beans, beans, soybeans, lentils. And herbs: vetch, annual lupine, sainfoin, mouse peas, grass plots, alfalfa and clover. When planting clover and alfalfa, one must take into account their ability to grow quickly and braid everything with roots. Simple trimming or mowing is not a hindrance for them.
The next, but no less famous and significant, are cereals: wheat, rye, barley, oats and corn. They sprout quickly and are not afraid of frost. In addition, these are winter crops, which, having sown in the fall, can be used in the spring. When planting winter crops, their seeds must be applied to a depth of 5 cm and sprinkled with earth.
Further Cruciferous - early green manure, which is represented by annual and perennial grasses and shrubs: rapeseed, rape, oil radish and mustard. Cabbage is also cruciferous, but this is rather the main crop.
Green manure plants
Rape - a culture widely used in agriculture. It is curious that the plant is nowhere found in the wild, although it has been known to people for a very long time.
In the scientific world, there is an assumption that rapeseed arose from the crossing of winter rape and garden cabbage. Where this happened is unknown, debate among botanists about the alleged origin of the rapeseed continues.
Rape has a developed root system and has the ability to improve the quality and structure of the soil, increase its fertility. The ability of rapeseed to rapidly grow a huge amount of green mass in cold spring and autumn periods is highly appreciated. Rape biomass, easily decomposing, becomes a valuable easily digestible fertilizer that enriches the soil with phosphorus, sulfur, organic matter, and humus.
It is second only to leguminous green manures in terms of nitrogen content. Rape, like green manure, can compete even with manure in its nutritional capacity. Due to the high content of essential oils, it heals the soil and protects various crops from pests and pathogens. In addition, rapeseed - like green manure - successfully suppresses the growth of weeds, therefore it is often planted in the aisles of perennial fruit and berry crops, in particular strawberries. Solid crops promote the binding of nitrates and reduce their leaching into groundwater.
There are spring and winter forms of the plant, which can sometimes change from one to another. Winter rape is more productive than spring rape, therefore it is more profitable to cultivate it.
Phacelia. An annual plant from the aquiformes family. It is also valuable as a honey plant. Like all green manures, it grows rapidly, and on any type of soil, and accumulates green mass.
The biggest advantage of this green manure is that it can be followed by any crop. Phacelia belongs to the gimlet family, to which none of the cultivated plants of the middle lane belongs. It can be sown before and after any vegetables, grains and herbs. Application rates - 8-10 g / sq. Due to its "class affiliation", this plant is suitable for fertilizing lands for cabbage, radishes, turnips, as they are more often than others affected by pests.
Phacelia emerges and develops very quickly (45-55 days), forming lush bunches of greenery growing from one root. It got its name from the shape of the aboveground part, since in Latin, Phacelia is a bundle. Outwardly, she looks very attractive. Purple flowers and carved leaves look decorative and will be appropriate for filling empty spaces in flower beds, flower beds and high ridges.
Phacelia embedded in the soil increases its fertility no less than cow dung. The introduction of tops into the soil (about 100 kg / one hundred square meters) is equivalent to using 1 ton of humus on the same plot of land. But it is possible to prepare plant biomass much faster, and it will cost less than organic fertilizers of animal origin.
Another very useful property of this flower, which is not found in other plants belonging to the conventional class of "green fertilizers" - its nectar attracts entomophages that destroy pests. Moths, aphids and leafworms disappear from the garden plot. Phacelia is often planted as a protective barrier for potatoes in order to protect the planting from pests. The wireworm does not tolerate the neighborhood with it, and locusts and soil nematodes simply die when the fungicides secreted by its flowers are inhaled. At the same time, this flower does not have a negative effect on bees, and is an excellent honey plant. Some beekeepers specially plant phacelia in whole plantations in order to obtain flower honey with excellent taste.
Calendula belongs to the Aster family. Herbaceous one - or perennial plant, less often a shrub or small tree. Calendula as a siderat is also not often found, but this medicinal plant has all the properties that we expect from a good siderat and even more. Calendula is growing rapidly and gaining green mass, seeds can be collected for free in any city flower bed, has a phenomenal healing effect on the soil. Calendula repels the Colorado potato beetle, therefore it is often grown in joint plantings with potatoes and eggplants.
Sowing calendula between the beds of garden and garden crops allows rational use of the land, and also helps in the fight against butterflies and ticks. Neighborhood with calendula can save asters from black legs, and gladioli from thrips. It is the best green manure for tomatoes.
Seed consumption rate per one hundred square meters: 100-150 grams. Calendula is recommended to be planted in early August, cut off after a month and a half before flowering and left before winter.
White mustard. This cold-resistant green manure can be grown and buried several times per season. The last time it is planted before winter, a few weeks before the onset of cold weather. This is done so that the green mass is "beaten" by the cold, and it would remain to rot under a layer of snow. The decay processes will continue for some time, after the onset of negative temperatures, due to the internal heat released during the decomposition of plant organic matter. It is enough to turn green manure fertilizers into humus, which will be very useful for plants in spring.
Mustard grows amicably, and very quickly gains vegetative mass. It is very important not to "miss" the moment when the stems begin to harden. Greens must be mowed until they turn yellow, before the first flowers appear, as soon as the first ovaries of buds have filled.
The minimum period from sowing to planting this plant in the soil is five weeks, but if possible, it is better to wait all eight. When calculating the timing of harvesting, it should be borne in mind that in hot weather, the stems harden faster, in cold weather - slower, so in autumn and spring you can leave greens in the beds for a long time.
Mustard is usually sown "randomly", with the exception of those cases when it is used to protect plants from pests. Then the in-line method is applied. The seed consumption rate of this fertilizer is 4-7 g per 1 sq. If you sow more, then the plantings will thicken, and rotting of greenery on the vine may begin.
To accelerate the maturation of vegetable humus, the green mass obtained from mustard plantings can be watered with a biostimulant. For this purpose, Baikal is perfect, which is diluted in a ratio of 1: 1000 (a drop per liter of water), and the mowed grass is sprayed with the solution with a spray bottle. Under the influence of live bacteria contained in the preparation, the grass rot faster and becomes part of the soil system.
Donnik. Previously, this herb was used as a fodder crop for livestock. But then they noticed that when plowing the fields where the sweet clover grew, the land gave richer yields than in the fields that were sown with other grasses. After that, the sweet clover was used as a green manure. It is a biennial plant that is grown as an annual. Melilot is unpretentious, hardy and grows quickly. It belongs to the legume family, so it can accumulate nitrogen in the root system. Its roots penetrate deep into the ground, and have a large number of branches. Thanks to the powerful root system of this plant, there is no need to dig up the ground after cutting it. It will be loose without additional processing.
A feature of the cultivation of sweet clover is that the most useful is not the aboveground, but the underground part. Therefore, you can cut the plant in 3-4 weeks after germination. If you let it outgrow, it will become too hard for further processing, and the "pipes" from its stems will stick out of the garden for a couple of seasons, not decorating the garden at all.
There is another striking representative of the Astrovian - Sunflower. It can also be used as a green manure, just keep in mind that its stem, like corn, quickly becomes tough and therefore slowly decomposes. It is best used as protection from direct sunlight or as a support for other plants.
Vika (mouse peas) - the plant is early ripening, and has a short growing season, which allows it to be used as a catch crop between plantings of main crops. For example, it can be planted in beds intended for seedlings of tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. It can also be sown in front of melons and gourds. Pumpkin, zucchini, squash planted on vetch give excellent harvests.
Planting of green manure is carried out throughout the growing season, as soon as temperatures above zero are established. Sowing rate - 1.5 kg per one hundred square meters. The seeding depth is 1-3 cm. It is not necessary deeper, otherwise the plant will not be able to penetrate the surface layer of the soil. To accelerate the emergence of seedlings, the plot can be watered with EM fertilizers, it is cheap and fast.
Vetch is often included in a mixture containing green manure plants such as rye, oats, rapeseed and ryegrass. This is done to obtain the optimal composition of vermicompost, which is formed after mowing these crops, since this plant accumulates mainly nitrogen. "Mouse peas" belong to the legume family, and, accordingly, has a similar structure. On its roots, the same nitrogenous nodules are formed, which accumulate this element. Peas, beans and beans should not be planted after it. But potatoes, cabbage, radishes, cucumbers and greens will be excellent follow-up crops.
Oil radish - a unique green manure, with a rapidly growing aerial part. In 6-7 weeks, it can increase its vegetative mass by 4-5 times. It is popular among gardeners as a natural "agrokiller". Radish suppresses all weeds, even creeping wheatgrass.
This green manure is not only an active supplier of biomass. Radish is a natural doctor and earth cleaner. It successfully fights diseases such as cabbage keel and nematode. It must be planted on lands that have been affected by various diseases and insect pests for several seasons, and the soil will become healthy again.
It is best to sow radish on fresh plowing; it loves soft soil. Seed consumption - 300 g per hundred square meters.4 weeks after the emergence of full shoots, the aerial part of the plant is excised with a shovel, and dug up together with the soil. The thickest stems are best composted.
Lupine. Common lupine is considered one of the oldest green manures in the history of agriculture. To enrich the soil, poor in nitrogen, it was used in Greece, more than two thousand years ago. Gardeners completely buried the trunk and leaves without roots in the near-trunk circle of the fruit tree, and there was enough nitrogen for that for several months.
This plant belongs to the legume family, respectively, beans, peas and beans cannot be planted after it, these crops have common pests. Tomatoes, cabbage, peppers will be excellent followers for lupine. And for potatoes, this beautiful flower will be the best predecessor.
The powerful roots of the plant are an active leavening agent, penetrating deeply into the soil. In parallel, they have another positive effect - they saturate all soil horizons with nitrogenous bacteria. Lupine plantings are capable of accumulating about 200 kg of nitrogen per hectare in the ground.
This green manure is planted in early spring, in a row method. Seed consumption (and they are quite large) - 4-5 per sq. When the lupine reaches the age of 5-7 weeks, its tops are plowed into the ground. Even if it bloomed, this is not scary, the most important thing is to prevent the formation of seeds, since at this stage of plant development, the stem becomes tough and does not rot well in the soil.
A great advantage of the plant can be considered a tap root system, which goes deep into the ground, and receives most of the nutrients from the deep layers, without depleting the upper fertile layer. At the same time, vermicompost, obtained from the aerial parts of lupine, per 1 sq. M. replaces 4 kg of manure, or 40-50 g of urea.
Rye. In many regions of the country, it is customary to sow the garden with this cereal after digging up potatoes. The rye bushes well, and builds up a large green mass, reaching 200-300 kg per hundred square meters. This green manure is planted both in winter and in spring, the planting time does not affect its quality. The special value of winter rye is that it actively increases its biological mass even at rather low temperatures, and winter crops survive even in snowless winters, with frosts down to -25 ° C.
The downside of all cereals grown to enrich the soil, including rye, is the complexity of their subsequent processing and plowing. The stems have a fairly strong structure, decompose for a long time, and cling to the plowshares, which have to be cleaned all the time. Another disadvantage of this winter green manure can be considered that it dries up the soil greatly, so it is impossible to sow rye in the garden between the trees.
Otherwise, this cereal is an excellent fertilizer, the seeds of which are inexpensive and therefore available to everyone. Rye is undemanding to the quality and thickness of the soil layer, perfectly grasses loose soils, easily tolerates high acidity. Since this plant has a fibrous root system, it easily retains nutrients in the upper soil horizon, preventing them from being washed out with melt water and rainwater.
The big advantage of this green manure fertilizer is that when decomposing, it saturates the soil not only with nitrogen, but also with calcium. Microorganisms contained in cereal biomass create conditions for the absorption of difficult-to-digest phosphorus compounds, dissolving them. Accordingly, a complete NPK-complex of nutrients remains in the ground, which allows any culture-followers to fully develop.
The aboveground part of cereals after cutting is used not only for plowing. The resulting straw is used as mulch. It provides excellent protection of the soil from drying out, and does not allow weed seeds to break through to the surface. Subsequently, decomposing, fresh straw becomes part of the garden bed, turning into vermicompost.
Oats. This cereal crop is used as green manure less often than rye. But this is more an accident than a pattern. The plant has all the positive qualities of rye, while it also wins over it in some respects. For example, oats are even more unpretentious. It can be sown on acidic podzolic soil, clay, and even peat - it will grow everywhere.
As an element of crop rotation, it is sown after legumes, preparing the land for potatoes. Despite the apparent weakness of the fibrous root system, this plant perfectly loosens the earth to a great depth, enriching it with oxygen, and creating a structure that is comfortable for cultivated plants. Oats saturates the upper soil layer with nitrogen and potassium, and, like rye, decomposes difficult-to-digest phosphorus compounds.
Seeds of this culture are planted, scattering them over the surface of a previously loosened plot of land, in early spring, as soon as it is possible to enter the garden. Do not be afraid of dirt and cold - oats love them, and these parameters do not affect its germination. On the contrary, in late March - early April, optimal conditions are created for the germination of oats, since they can feed on soil moisture from the melted snow. The seeding rate is 1.5-2.1 kg per hundred square meters, the seeding depth of seed is 4-5 cm.
Barley as siderat is good as well as rye or oats. It also structures the soil well, suppresses most weeds and quickly gains green mass. But barley has its own special advantage: it is drought-resistant, in contrast to the same oats. Therefore, in areas where droughts are frequent, it is better to prefer barley as green manure. Barley is very good for early spring planting, it can withstand frosts down to -5 ° C. Seed consumption rate per one hundred square meters: 1.8-2 kilograms. Mowed in a month and a half after disembarkation.
Buckwheat - one of the record holders in terms of growth rate, it quickly reaches a height of half a meter, and even manages to grow 1.5 meters of roots. This green manure is not afraid of drought and does not dry out the soil.
Very often buckwheat is planted in the near-trunk circles of fruit trees and bushes. Buckwheat leaves behind colins (substances that inhibit the development of subsequent plants) less than other green manure plants. Buckwheat is recommended to be used as a green manure on poor, acidic and heavy soils.
It will grow anywhere, and after mowing will significantly enrich the soil with phosphates and potassium. Suppresses perennial weeds, especially wheatgrass. Seed consumption rate per one hundred square meters: 600 grams. Buckwheat is sown in late spring, in May, as it is thermophilic. Mow the green mass before flowering. You can sow buckwheat before winter.
And finally Amaranth. It is not often used as a green manure in our plots, most often it is grown as a vegetable crop or for obtaining seeds. It is no less important as a green manure than all the previous ones, because it contains essential amino acids, a large amount of protein and minerals. This plant does not have any special requirements for the soil; it grows even on salt marshes. Does not like waterlogging, drought-resistant, practically not susceptible to disease. Amaranth roots go deep into the soil (up to 2 meters), improving its structure. Since amaranth is thermophilic, it is planted either in late spring in a specially designated area, or in the summer after harvesting early crops. The landing rate is 15 grams per hundred square meters. Before sowing, 2 teaspoons of amaranth seeds are mixed with a glass of sand and must be rolled for better contact with the ground. The green mass of amaranth is harvested before frosts, or before flowering.
Growing potatoes in oats
Agricultural technologies, like any others, do not stand still. In modern horticulture, the technology of growing crops without prior plowing of the land is increasingly being used. It allows you to save not only energy and time, but also to get excellent harvests. Siderata, as part of a crop-free farming culture, are actively used in this system.
Oats can be not only a supplier of vermicompost. His can be used for potatoes by growing tubers in oat straw mulch. Moreover, on the plot, which is planned for this culture, you do not even have to remove the grass, it will disappear by itself, passing into the composition of the nutrient soil. It is only necessary to slightly push it apart, and in between to make grooves in which oats are planted.
When the green manure and weeds grow up enough, they are mowed under the root with a flat cutter, and, having made a small depression in the soil, they plant a potato there, lightly sprinkling it with a layer of earth. The sprouts that appear are mulched with straw and grass, and when they become very large, they gradually add other green waste, for example, the grass left after mowing the lawn. Most importantly, it is necessary to block access to the tubers of the sun's rays, which will "green" them, making the potatoes unsuitable for human consumption.
After the autumn harvesting of potatoes, which, by the way, will become a very clean and quick process, the field must be sown with oats again, and continue to do this every year. In a couple of years, without digging, the soil structure will be completely restored, and this plot of land will give consistently high yields.
Siderates can be conditionally divided into groups according to their functions
♦ Accumulation of nitrogen from the atmosphere - legumes
♦ Conversion of phosphates into digestible forms - legumes, mustard and buckwheat
♦ Assimilation of nitrogen from the soil, protection against soil mineralization and leaching of nutrients into the subsoil - cruciferous, cereals
♦ Deep loosening of the soil - mustard, radish, lupine, sainfoin, buckwheat
♦ Protection against nematodes - legumes, sunflowers, phacelia, ryegrass.
Approximate sowing dates for some green manure crops
♦ Any terms - sweet clover, mustard, phacelia.
♦ In early spring - spring - lupine, buckwheat, oats, alfalfa.
♦ Early summer - summer - mustard, phacelia, clover, alfalfa, vetch, peas, clover, rapeseed.
♦ In autumn - clover, winter rye, winter oats, oil radish.
When sowing green manures in the garden, an ordinary method is used with a row spacing of 15 cm and a continuous one, taking into account the seeding rates for various plants, conditions and purposes. Plants grow faster and better if, after sowing, the soil is rolled up (increasing the area of contact of the seed with the soil) and moistened.
In traditional farming, soil with green manure is dug up, but digging or plowing violates the structure of the soil and destroys beneficial microorganisms. Therefore, in natural farming, siderates are cut with a flat-cutting tool to a depth of 5 cm, leaving roots, which, after decomposition, form tubule systems, and the green mass is left on the garden bed, preferably covering them with a mulching layer so that they do not dry out.
Young plants, when decomposed, release a large amount of nitrogen, quickly decompose and the main crop is planted 3-4 weeks after their incorporation. Mature plants with a tough stem form carbon compounds, consume nitrogen and take much longer to decompose, so it is advisable to avoid coarsening of the plants and to remove them when they gain sufficient green mass.
Mowed and introduced into the soil green manure plants gradually decompose under the influence of soil microorganisms, earthworms and other soil living creatures and turn into organic matter and humus, releasing nutrients that are readily available for subsequent cultivated plants.
Red clover, sweet clover, sainfoin and sowing alfalfa are used for greening in gardens. If the garden is young, then it is better to sow it with annuals: beans, peas, rank, seradella, lupine and winter vetch. Perennials, when a large aboveground mass is formed, are mowed, but removed from the garden area, forming a lawn. Perennial green manures are harvested and plowed into the ground in the last year of their life, before or in the middle of flowering, if possible without disturbing the structure of the soil, and after a couple of years the site is not sown to give time for the decomposition of the remaining roots.
It is also worth noting that tree trunks are rarely sown, they should be free of vegetation so that there is no negative impact on tree roots.
The use of green fertilizers allows you to restore the soil balance, save money on purchased fertilizing, and grow environmentally friendly products. The use of green manure helps to create a new humus layer, which was destroyed by the use of traditional agriculture, when all the nutrients were taken out of the soil with the resulting products. The soil enriched with natural methods will be transformed, and will certainly thank you for all your efforts with abundant harvests of environmentally friendly vegetables and fruits.