At The Natural Fruit, we want to especially highlight our use of green manure due to its important role in the protection and sustainability of agricultural ecosystems and, in general, in the fight against climate change. Caring for the soil in modern-day agricultural production is vital for maintaining the good health of one of our most important resources. We only have one soil, and maintaining and caring for it using different methods and techniques throughout the production process is highly beneficial. Some of these take place during the planting of the crop and others after the harvest.
What is green manure?
Normal fertilisation consists of providing the crops with the nutrients they need for growth and development, using manure or compounds with nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous – everything a plant needs. However, the green manure process is completely different. It consists of planting legumes, grasses or cruciferous vegetables alongside our crops and later mixing them into the soil as organic material.
These plants require miniscule amounts of water to survive and they are quick to become established and grow in any type of soil.
How do these small plants benefit our crops?
Mainly, they increase the organic matter in the soil as they are mixed back into it. But their most beneficial characteristics are those which combat climate change: they fix nitrogen, carbon and other atmospheric elements, they control pest and disease attacks, and they protect against soil erosion.
Their high level of nitrogen fixing is due to the habitual relationship between the plants’ roots and bacteria. This symbiosis allows the bacteria to develop, thanks to the sustenance provided by the roots, and in turn, the plant gains various nutrients due to the bacteria’s fixing ability. Furthermore, their presence in the ground avoids soil erosion caused by climatic factors and agricultural activity.
In turn, certain pests and diseases prefer these plants instead of the crops, allowing us to reduce our use of phytosanitary products.
It is a sustainable practice which helps in the fight against climate change, increasing the amount of organic material in the soil and maintaining its structure, decreasing the presence of CO2 in the atmosphere, and reducing the loss of humidity in the soil surface. In other words, its effects help to minimise the contamination, erosion and destruction of the soil, air and water of agricultural ecosystems.
The Natural Fruit is fully committed to this beneficial practice and our farms, which make up a total of 167 hectares, have many of these plants in among the crops. Moreover, these species suppose a significant increase in the biodiversity of the agricultural ecosystems, not just in terms of plants, due to the inclusion of different species of grass and legume, but also animals, due to the increased presence of different species that benefit the ecosystem.
As you have seen, green manure and these small plants can do so much and using them is a tremendously beneficial to our crops. The good results arising from this practice are a symbol of efficiency, sustainability and the fight against climate change, values which The Natural Fruit is proud to achieve and share.
Over 40 years of experience
The Natural Fruit Company is a union of the experience, tradition and vision of the future of three leading companies in the citrus fruit sector (Frugarva, Fruxeresa and Frutas Naturales), with a consolidated presence in large scale fruit distribution throughout Europe. After a lifetime of business, three generations are working together, forming a great team and a great family, committed to sustainability, empathy, innovation and the excellence of their products.