The green manuring technique can be described as the intentional sowing, growth and development, usually of legumes, grasses or from cabbage family, which are incorporated into the soil subsequently.
For a species to be used for green manuring, it must meet a series of characteristics, such as rapid establishment and growth, or the production of a certain volume of biomass. In addition, its water and nutrient requirements should be low.
Its functions cover a wide spectrum, from the increase of soil organic matter by its own incorporation after the growth, the reduction of the evaporation of water from the soil or improving and maintaining a good soil structure. However, what makes green manuring stand out is for its functions in nitrogen fixation and other atmospheric elements, and for controlling the attack of different pests and diseases.
In the Brassicas crops developed in Campo de Lorca, and in order to carry out the green manuring technique and perform crop rotations, we have selected the sowing of Vicia sativa, known as common vetch, which maintains a good soil condition. and prevent its erosion while there are no crops. It achieves, with very good results, the mentioned objectives.
After sowing in December or January, the plant is allowed to develop and grow up to about 80cm, and later it is crushed for incorporation into the soil, which result in a great contribution of organic matter and nutrients.
The high level of nitrogen fixation occurs thanks to the association of the plant with a bacterium. This symbiosis allows the development of the bacteria, thanks to the sustenance provided by the roots of the plant. Furthermore, the plant obtains different nutrients due to the fixation capacity of the bacteria.
According to the obtained results and data, the reduction of the mineral nitrogen requirements of the soil and the crop is reduced by between 20% and 25%. This contributes to the agri-food sector fighting against soil and air pollution, reducing its effects on Climate Change and Global Warming.
On the other hand, in the control of pests and pathogens, the use of common vetch eases the fight against an important enemy of broccoli, nematodes, whose population level is minimized thanks to the break in their life cycle.
Due to its good results, Campo de Lorca is committed to the green manuring, which eases obtaining high-quality products through an efficient and sustainable technique.