After investing a lot of time last year to contrast the weeds, this year, according to our resolution to follow the principles of organic agriculture, we decide to invest in a cover crop for our saffron cultivation.
Usually, cover crops are used primarly to slow soil erosion, and to avoid the loss of nutrients caused by the rain. According to the variety of plant you choose, they can also increase biodiversity: flowers can attract pollinators like bees, and they can also provide a shelter to “useful” insects that feed on harmful insects.
If you want to use a cover crop to counteract the growth of weeds, you should use a variety of plant characterized by rapid sprouting and growth and good aggressiveness, which allows them to win the competition for water and nutrients with plants weeds.
For our saffron cover crop, we have chosen the underground clover, a green manure legume. The green manure technique consists in the burial of some cultures to improve the fertility of the soil: the plants belonging to the legume category, if used for green manure, can fix a lot of nitrogen in the soil and can increase the amount of organic matter.
Our choice to use the underground clover was based on its main characteristics. The underground clover is a plant that develops little in height, therefore we will not have to worry about having to mow it; it also has shallow roots, so there is little risk to interfere with the development of the bulbs. Underground clover is also the variety of clover less sensitve to cold.
Born in Romagna, now living in Piacenza. I am the owner and co-founder with my husband of Zafferano Emiliano. Follow our site to get the latest news about our Saffron cultivation – and some recipes as well!