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Hairy Vetch Overview
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.
Common problems with Hairy Vetch
Generally problem free
Hairy Vetch 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.
How to harvest Hairy Vetch
Plough into the field while still green.
How to propagate Hairy Vetch
Sow seed at start of rainy season.
Perennial species by division in the autumn.
Special features of Hairy Vetch
Great to use as cover crop as green manure and to add value to depleted soil.
Other uses of Hairy Vetch
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.