Green Manures

The educational materials listed on this page are about Green Manures.

Green manure plants are cover crops that are turned into the soil before they mature. Green manure crops, sometimes called green cover or green compost, are grown to suppress weeds and improve soil quality for the production of cash crops. In some permaculture systems, green manures are used for green mulch. Green manuring adds organic matter, nitrogen and other key nutrients as part of sustainable soil management plan. Green manures, along with other organic manures, can play an important role in sustainable crop rotations and soil fertility management. Green manure seeds are available from a wide range of seed dealers. Key practices include organic fertilizers, living mulchespermaculturenutrient cyclingcontinuous cropping and cover crops.

The Cover Crop Topic Room can help you learn more about green manure by uncovering the various benefits that cover crops can have on soil fertility and soil management. Another resource to help farmers understand green manure and cover crops is SARE’s book Building Soils for Better Crops. This book lays the foundation for understanding soil fertility, soil structure, and overall soil management, and includes alternative cover crops like green manures. SARE’s Crop Rotation on Organic Farms A Planning Manual is a resource for farmers looking to integrate crop rotation into their operation in a sustainable way to enhance organic matter through green manures.

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Building Soils for Better Crops Cover

Building Soils for Better Crops

The fourth edition of Building Soils for Better Crops—enhanced and expanded—explains how to use ecological principles to build soil health and boost fertility, yields and overall sustainability.

Cover page of Smart Water Use bulletin

Smart Water Use on Your Farm or Ranch

As producers throughout the nation grow increasingly concerned about water scarcity, farmers, ranchers and agricultural educators are beginning to explore new, conservation-oriented approaches to water use.

Cover Page of Cover Crops for Sustainable Crop Rotations

Cover Crops for Sustainable Crop Rotations

Cover crops are one of the best ways to improve soil health, reduce off-farm inputs and protect natural resources. Find a wealth of educational materials developed out of decades of SARE-funded cover crop research.

Crop Rotation publication cover

Crop Rotation on Organic Farms

Crop rotation strategies that can be applied under various field conditions for conventional or organic crops to improve soil quality and health, and manage pests, diseases, and weeds