What is Quinoa as Green Manure?

Quinoa, scientifically known as Chenopodium quinoa, is a versatile and nutritious grain crop that has gained popularity in recent years. However, quinoa is not only valued for its culinary uses but also for its potential as a green manure. Green manure refers to the practice of growing certain plants and then incorporating them into the soil to improve its fertility and structure. Quinoa, with its deep root system and nutrient-rich biomass, can be an excellent choice for green manure.

The Benefits of Quinoa as Green Manure

Quinoa offers several benefits when used as green manure. Firstly, its deep root system helps in breaking up compacted soil and improving its structure. The extensive root network of quinoa can penetrate deep into the soil, loosening it and allowing for better water infiltration and nutrient absorption. This can be particularly beneficial in heavy clay soils that tend to become compacted over time.

Secondly, quinoa as green manure can enhance soil fertility. Quinoa plants are known for their ability to accumulate nutrients from the soil, especially nitrogen. Nitrogen is an essential nutrient for plant growth, and by growing quinoa as green manure, farmers can harness its nitrogen-fixing capabilities. When the quinoa plants are incorporated into the soil, the nitrogen they have accumulated is released, enriching the soil and providing a nutrient boost for subsequent crops.

Furthermore, quinoa as green manure can help suppress weeds. Quinoa plants have a dense growth habit and can quickly cover the soil, shading out weed seeds and preventing their germination. This natural weed suppression can reduce the need for herbicides and manual weed control, making quinoa an eco-friendly option for weed management.

How to Use Quinoa as Green Manure

Using quinoa as green manure involves a few simple steps. Firstly, select a suitable area in your garden or field to grow the quinoa. Quinoa prefers well-drained soil and full sun, so choose a location that meets these requirements. Prepare the soil by removing any existing vegetation and loosening it with a garden fork or tiller.

Next, sow the quinoa seeds at the recommended spacing and depth. Quinoa seeds are small, so it is important to distribute them evenly across the area. After sowing, lightly rake the soil to cover the seeds and ensure good seed-to-soil contact.

As the quinoa plants grow, monitor their progress and provide adequate water and nutrients as needed. Quinoa is a relatively low-maintenance crop, but it still requires regular watering and occasional fertilization to thrive.

When to Incorporate Quinoa as Green Manure

The ideal time to incorporate quinoa as green manure depends on your specific needs and the growing season in your region. In general, it is best to incorporate the quinoa plants into the soil before they start flowering and setting seeds. This ensures that the nutrients accumulated in the plants are released back into the soil, rather than being used for seed production.

Typically, quinoa plants are ready for incorporation after they have reached a height of about 12-18 inches. At this stage, the plants will have developed a substantial biomass and accumulated a significant amount of nutrients. Use a garden fork or tiller to incorporate the quinoa plants into the soil, ensuring that they are thoroughly mixed in.


In conclusion, quinoa can be a valuable green manure crop due to its deep root system, nutrient accumulation, and weed suppression abilities. By incorporating quinoa into the soil, farmers and gardeners can improve soil structure, enhance fertility, and reduce weed pressure. The use of quinoa as green manure is a sustainable and eco-friendly practice that can contribute to the overall health and productivity of the soil. Consider incorporating quinoa into your crop rotation or garden plan to reap the benefits it offers as a green manure.