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Vetch

Vicia villosa

Hairy Vetch, Fodder, Winter Vetch (Eng.)

Vetch is part of the legume family that can utilise the unusable Nitrogen in the air and combine it with the help of Rhizobium bacteria to plantfood. It is therefore often sown as a covercrop with the ability to enrich the soil for the following crop.

Planning

Difficulty
Easy
Flowering time
Summer, Spring
Fruiting time
Autumn

Harvesting

Plough into the field while still green.

Propagation

Seed
Sow seed at start of rainy season.

Special features

Crop rotation
Great to use as cover crop as green manure and to add value to depleted soil.

Geography

Origin
Asia and East Africa
Natural climate
Temperate to cold areas

Environment

Light
Full Sun, Partial Sun
Soil moisture
Moist
Soil type
Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil PH preference
Neutral
Frost hardiness
Half-Hardy

Uses

Increase soil fertility
Grown as a winter cover crop and in no-till farming, as it is both winter hardy and can fix as much as 200 lb/acre of atmospheric nitrogen.

Personality

Family
Fabaceae
Flower colour
, Purples, Pink, White, Blue
Scent
None

Problems

Generally problem free

Companion plants

Organic gardeners often plant hairy vetch (a nitrogen-fixing legume) as a companion plant to tomatoes, as an alternative to rotating crops in small growing areas. When it is time to plant tomatoes in the spring, the hairy vetch is cut to the ground and the tomato seedlings are planted in holes dug through the matted residue and stubble. The vetch vegetation provides both nitrogen and an instant mulch that preserves moisture and keeps weeds from sprouting. Any plants with high nitrogen needs will benefit from this method.
TOMATO
TOMATO
Solanum lycopersicum

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