The vetch is rustic, spontaneous, resistant to drought and is grown on compact and calcareous soils. The Veccia experienced moments of greatest splendor in the past, while today it is used, albeit to a lesser extent, as a green manure plant, herbage or for feed seeds. In fact it is used for fodder and to give nitrogen to the earth, but in ancient times the Veccia took the place of wheat to produce flour to make bread. Sowing this type of legume means preparing the soil and eliminating weeds; and if the earth is too dry it is advisable to water before planting the seeds. However, attention must be paid to the amount of water to be administered as the Vetch fears water stagnation. It also proves sensitive to any unevenness of the ground that form dangerous accumulations of water, as well as preferring an accurate surface crumbling of the earth.
Vetch is a herb that belongs to the minor forage crops and can also be found as a weed, in fact, the seeds can be collected during the discarding of barley and wheat. The sowing is carried out in the winter or in the spring and it is recommended to perform it mechanically to obtain a uniform operation and to avoid the visit of harmful birds. The Vetch will therefore be sown in mild areas in autumn, while in the northern areas in spring, provided that too low temperatures do not compromise its very survival. But above all the Vetch is a legume that improves the land where it grows, thanks to its roots rich in tubercles. In ancient times they cultivated it in pots and in a dark place to obtain a white and threadlike herb to be used as an ornament during the celebrations of the religious tradition.
The fertilizers to be used for the Vetch in the planting phase are potassium sulphate, phosphorus and superphosphate, but in turn it is the Vetch itself that leaves the soil where it grew highly fertilized. In fact, this technique is called green manure and is used to fertilize the soil in a natural way. Today, as in the past, Veccia is cultivated to prepare the land that will host a new crop, perhaps organic. In the end, the use of Vetch can guarantee several advantages, including the enrichment of the soil with nutrients and organic substances, an increase in water and a better structure of the earth, more protection from possible erosion and greater control of weeds. But the most important effect is nitrogen fixing, that is, the supply of nitrogen to the soil thanks to the symbiosis of root microorganisms. The plants that will be sown after the cultivation of this fantastic legume will grow healthy and luxuriant.
Vetch: Diseases and parasites
The Vetch is usually attacked by: Uromyces fabae, Peronospora viciae and by rust, while the seeds by caterpillars. The plant lives well in not very cold and humid environments and consequently prefers a temperate climate. The Vetch is also excellent as forage as it contains proteins that are easily digested by livestock, and being a very vigorous plant it does not need special interventions. It has a branched stem and scattered leaves; its solitary flowers have a red and purple or pink and white corolla. Legumes, on the other hand, contain about ten seeds that can be green, black or gray, while less frequent are the white and yellow ones. The Veccia Sativa species blooms in the spring season and is very widespread in the Mediterranean areas and in Asia, from which it comes. Veccia Villosa, on the other hand, is very resistant to cold, adapts to both clayey and sandy soil and is combined with grasses.