Introduction

Phacelia is a plant native to the Americas. It is grown as a green manure crop and also as a companion crop as it is a nectar source for bees and parasitic wasps. The wasps prey on insects on productive crops that are growing nearby. The flowers of Phacelia are usually shades of blue or purple. The cultivated plant is an annual but shrubby species also occur in its country of origin.

Growing Phacelia

Propagation: 4–6 kg/ha seed. Sowing depth: 1–2 cm in row spacing: 10–15cm between rows.  Planted using a drill mid September; harvested February–March.
Yields/ha: Expected yield: 500–1000 kg/ha (large variation).
Soil type: Phacelia needs to be grown on fertile soils that are relatively weed free.
Pest/Diseases: Phacelia has no known pests or diseases.
Harvesting: Phacelia is harvested in February/March. The crop takes 5 months to grow from sowing to harvest. It is a difficult crop to harvest, as it does not flower evenly and is susceptible to seed shattering. Phacelia is cut then windrowed and harvested 7 to 10 days later.
Marketing: The crop is grown as a seed source for Northern Hemisphere countries usually under contract. Prices vary.

Further Information

Wikipedia article

Small Farm Success Project Fact Sheet No 2a