Ground covers and green manures
This group includes any rapidly growing crop that covers and protects the soil and that can be left as a mulch or plowed under to enrich the soil. Legumes are emphasized because of their ability to fix nitrogen and the large amount of foliage (and thus organic matter) produced. As a group, these crops are adapted principally to the hot, somewhat moist, tropics, but some are adapted to all tropical climates. They can all be established by seed, but some root at the nodes and can be established from cuttings. ECHO does not provide inoculants; see Agroforester, Liphatec, and BNF in listing at back for sources.
• Butterfly pea. Clitoria ternatea. Very drought tolerant, but does not compete well with weeds.
• Cowpea. Vigna unguiculata, V. vexillata. See Pulses.
• Hairy Indigo. Indigofera hirsuta. Summer cover crop in Florida; reseeding annual; nematode-suppressant; prefers well drained and droughty sites; for hay and grazing.
• Jack bean. Canavalia ensiformis. Drought tolerant; see under Leguminous Vegetables. (EDN 12-1, 20-2).
• Kudzu, tropical. Pueraria phaseoloides. Not the weedy temperate kudzu (EDN 12-6, 42-5).
• Lablab bean. Dolichos lablab . White, Rongai, and Highworth are excellent field varieties. Choose one or a variety trial; see under Leguminous Vegetables. (EDN 12-1).
• "Lee" or American Joint Vetch. Aeschynomene americana. Green manure and forage good for low areas or drainage ditches, >1000 mm rain.
• Sword bean. Canavalia gladiata. Drought tolerant; see under Leguminous Vegetables.
• Sunnhemp. Crotalaria juncea is becoming popular in East Africa. Crotalaria ochroleuca is an upright, non-vining legume; good for intercropping. Not poisonous to livestock, unlike most Crotalarias (EDN 26-5). C. ochroleuca may have poisonous seeds, forage before it goes to seed.
• Tephrosia. Tephrosia vogelii. Used as green manure and insect control. (EDN 42-5).
• Velvet bean. Mucuna deeringiana. Vigorous, drought resistant; see under Pulses. Tropical and 90-Day. (EDN 12-1,33-1).
• Winged bean.Psophocarpus etragonolobus. See under Leguminous Vegetables.
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