Sunflower as a Green Manure
- Catch crop.
- Can be used for flower production, fodder and oil production.
- Used as a spring-sown green manure the fast growing foliage will help suppress weeds, producing lots of organic matter while making an attractive groundcover.
- The roots leave a good tilth for following crops.
- Height 1.5 - 2m
- Rich in both nectar and pollen the flowers attract bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects like a magnet.
- Plants should be dug up and composted.
How to sow green manures:
- Prepare a reasonable seed bed.
- Broadcast you seeds. If you have a large area to cover it is a good idea to divide the seed and the land into 4 parts to avoid running out of seed.
- Rake in and water if soil is dry.
Did you know:
- Sunflowers have highly efficient root systems and can be grown in areas which are too dry for many other crops.
- Roots can break up hardpan, kill weeds, and pull up minerals for the topsoil to make available for next crops.
- The plant has a strong taproot that can penetrate the soil to depth of 3 metres. It also has a large lateral spread of surface roots.
- The roots also release a chemical that has allelopathic effects which inhibit the growth of nearby plants and weeds.