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Almost every summer resident on the site, in addition to fruit crops, also grows additional plants, the function of which is to enrich the soil. They are part of the green manure group, and one of these common plants is the phacelia.
- Phacelia: plant description
- The benefits of green manure
- Features of use
Phacelia: plant description
Phacelia is an annual plant of the aquifolia family. It can be grown not only as an ornamental plant, but also as a compost plant, as well as a honey plant, green manure. There are several varieties of the plant:
- The phacelia is bell-shaped. Refers to an annual species. The inflorescences of the plant are collected in a brush. The flowers are dark blue. It begins to bloom in mid-June.
- Phacelia is tansy. It is used as an ornamental and agricultural plant. Shoots can reach a height of 50 cm.
- Phacelia is twisted. This variety is characterized by small blue flowers located at the top of the stem.
In phacelia, the stem is erect, fragile, can reach a height of up to 90 cm. The leaves are green and feathery, arranged alternately and covered with small stiff hairs. The flowers have a double five-membered perianth, which are collected in curls. The corolla is blue or pale blue in the form of a bell. After sowing, the appearance of the first flowers is observed after 1-1.5 months.
Flowering lasts for 2 months. The flowers unfold sequentially. The plant is undemanding to soil and can be grown on black soil, loamy, peat soils. Phacelia can grow in shade and partial shade, but prefers a sunny location. Seed germination occurs at a temperature of 3-4 degrees. Phacelia is badly affected by prolonged waterlogging of the soil.
The plant grows rapidly and gains green mass. Phacelia tolerates autumn frosts well, but the nectar productivity of the plant in this case decreases. Phacelia can be grown not only as a fertilizer, but also as an ornamental plant. It can be used as a substitute for lawn grass or as a bait for bees to pollinate trees and shrubs.
The benefits of green manure
When growing phacelia in beds, its roots loosen and structure the soil well. Heavy soil becomes light and free flowing. As a result, the growth of the plant improves, the fruits ripen large and tasty. For the winter, phacelia protects the soil from erosion, drought and promotes the accumulation of moisture. In addition, phacelia has the following beneficial properties:
Changes the acidity level of the soil
- Insects flock to flowers, eating many garden pests
- Provides mineral and organic substances
- Prevents the development of late blight, root rot and other diseases
- Inhibits the growth of weeds
- Attracts bees and bumblebees
- Improves pollination and promotes fruit set
When phacelia leaves decompose, nitrogen is released, which is necessary for the favorable development of plants. In addition, this will allow not to introduce manure and other fertilizers into the soil. It is possible to grow garden crops without the use of fertilizers for 2-3 years. This is one of the main advantages of phacelia as a green manure. Phacelia is useful for adjacent garden crops - it can retain moisture in the soil.
Features of use
Phacelia as a green manure can be used in different ways to improve and increase yields. To increase soil fertility, sowing seeds is carried out several times per season. Sowing phacelia can be carried out before winter or in the spring and summer.
In this case, it is important that the seeds have time to germinate before the first frost appears. In the spring, you can start sowing immediately after the snow begins to melt. The seeds of this green manure are very small, so it is recommended to mix with sand before sowing. This is necessary in order for the seed to be better distributed in the soil. For 100 square meters, you will need about 200 g of seeds.
They are scattered on the site and embedded in the ground by 2-3 cm using a rake. If the soil is dry, then after sowing it is necessary to water the soil. As soon as the phacelia begins to bloom, you can mow the green mass. It is important to cut the plant on time. If you do this later, the leaves and stems will become rough, and this significantly slows down the decomposition process. In addition, harmful microorganisms will develop in the semi-rotten mass.
Then mix it with earth and dig up the site. It is preliminarily recommended to water the biomass with a special solution that improves decomposition. Then level the ground and add the next batch of phacelia seeds. With the emergence of seedlings and the beginning of flowering, mow the plant again and repeat the procedure.
Until the fall, there will be about 3-4 crop rotation events. The next spring, a variety of vegetables can be grown in the prepared area.
After harvesting, the phacelia is also recommended to be sown, but at the same time the plant is not mowed for the winter. The ground will not freeze and will become loose with the onset of spring. Another way to use phacelia is to plant seedlings in thickets. The seedlings are placed in holes made in the grass. Thus, the plant will not only prevent the soil from drying out, but also protect it from the sun's rays.
To improve the yield of root crops, the phacelia is planted between rows. As a result, the air exchange of the soil improves, and this affects the active formation of potato tubers and their rapid growth. Phacelia is a versatile and popular green manure among gardeners and gardeners, from which you can benefit all year round.
Video about phacelia and its properties as a green manure: