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The phacelia is also known under the names tufted flower and bee friend. Since this perennial flowering plant is not related to any other cultivated plants, it can easily be integrated into all kinds of crop rotations as a cover crop.

The phacelia is not only pretty to look at, it is also a good fertilizer

What green manure is about

The name green manure does not adequately describe the actual processes involved in using certain types of plants as intercropping. It is true that nitrogen is sometimes bound and stored in the soil, but there are also other significant side effects of using green manure plants. For example, a cover crop such as Phacelia will:

  • the soil enriched with humus
  • the subsoil is secured and protected from clogging
  • effectively loosens compacted soil
  • a foraging plant for bees
  • possible weed growth suppressed on fallow land

Grow phacelia as green manure

In recent years, the so-called "bee friend" (Phacelia) has become the focus of public interest, primarily due to the high nectar production in the many individual flowers. At the same time, the herbaceous plants, which grow up to one meter high, are also a pretty element in perennial beds or on slopes that are difficult to plant. The white to light blue and violet-blue petals of the flowers can be used effectively for color contrasts to other garden plants. To sow the seeds, which can be obtained comparatively cheaply, the selected spot in the flower or vegetable bed is simply freed from other vegetation and lightly raked. The seeds are easily incorporated into the soil and should be kept evenly moist throughout the germination period.

The timing is crucial

When using phacelia as green manure, a certain conflict of interest with use as bee pasture can arise. This is due to the fact that the nitrogen content of these plants, which are generally very fast-growing, decreases steadily up to the time of flowering. You get the best effects for enriching the soil with nitrogen if you roughly mow the bee friend before flowering and work it directly into the soil after the leaf mass has dried.

tips

Different types of plants from the field of green manure can be combined in the garden to create a real range of colors with rapid growth. To do this, simply mix green manure types such as bee friend with yellow mustard, marigolds and lupins on the areas to be greened.

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