[permaculture] sheet mulch beds for CSA production?
eisenhauerdesign at earthlink.net
Wed Apr 5 10:19:51 EDT 2006
Howdy from Putnam NY,
We have tried sheet mulching by rolling out round bales that are too
moldy for fodder over heavy clay and have found an explosion of worms
and bugs, and fluffier soil. Crickets and grass hopper populations soar,
so I am thinking of working a band of sheet mulch into rows within cover
crop for incorporating into a chicken tractor smorgasbord as a rotation.
Has anyone seen the article in Science News March 2006 issue regarding
Smoldered-Earth? www.sciencenews.org "Smoldered-Earth Policy"
"Prehistoric farmers created dark earth, perhaps intentionally, when
they worked charcoal and nutrient-rich debris into Amazonian soils,
which are naturally poor at holding nutrients. The amendments produced
"better nutrient retention and soil fertility," says soil scientist
Johannes Lehmann of Cornell.
Charcoal forms when organic matter smolders, or burns at low
temperatures and with limited oxygen. Nutrient such as phosphorus and
potassium readily adhere to charcoal, and the combination creates a good
habitat for soil microorganisms. The soil microbes transform the
materials into dark earth, says geographer William I. Woods of the
University of Kansas in Lawrence."
Sounds like just the thing for sandy droughty soils.
eisenhauerdesign at earthlink.net
From: permaculture-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:permaculture-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of kevin s
Sent: Tuesday, April 04, 2006 8:36 PM
To: permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: [permaculture] sheet mulch beds for CSA production?
what is the largest area of sheet mulch beds that folks have going?
we are going to put in several thousand feet, and try to grow some
vegetables for our new CSA in dutchess co NY.
i haven't heard of anyone else going that way, maybe there is?
please feel free to advise if so...
to start we have:
an adequate supply of somewhat composted (fresh 'ish') horse manure
that is pretty much equal parts manure and wood shavings. lot's of
red worms in there. looks ok. i wish it was older
plenty of fresh bedding straw from another horse farm. (very
little manure in it, they treat their horses well)
also quite a lot of fairly well rotted hay that laid out in a field all
several thousand feet of brown paper in rolls from a wood fired
matzo place in the city
and, not nearly enough finished compost
the beds are going in following contour on a 5 to 10 percent slope,
on land that hasn't been farmed for 30 yrs or so. before that
probably corn and hay. it is decent soil, but not great- clayey, and
hard packed in areas. fairly shallow root depth, and limited organic
material. it is well covered with weeds and grass that is laying
down in a nice thick thatch in some areas. in other areas the ground
is nearly bare because this soil was completely shaded by thick
canopy from a variety of woody stuff- pasture roses, and something
that someone told us is related to honeysuckle. anyway, we have been
clearing brush...stuff that came in in the last 25 yrs. no trees tho
we are thinking first to rake the weeds where we have them into the
bedrows, cover it with a good layer of manure, and add some lime
cause i am worried about the PH of the wood chips. then maybe a
handfull of greensand or local 'blue granite' dust, and cover with a
generous layer of the rottted hay and fresh straw. we are thinking
we may not use paper or cardboard in these areas at all as we will
have a good mulch layer and i don't think anything can get up thru.
we have a rototiller, but i am only planning on tilling the paths,
and then throwing some of that soil up on the beds and sowing clover
in the lowered paths. they become the 'swales'
the limited compost we have we are going to have to use selectively
mostly around the transplants themselves
(we are making compost as fast as we can and have four piles going,
don't have any greens tho and it is slow cooking)
the areas that had the brush cover is basically the same story,
except i will start with the paper because the mulch layer is not as
we are planning on cutting the 'stumps' off flush to the ground, and
then covering them with cardboard and waste vegetable oil (i have a
lot because i run a car on it) hoping! that nothing can get thru
the roots are too big to remove by hand, and we don't have a tractor
or winch or anything.
anyway, that's the gist of it
looking fwd to some other opinions
kevin and sarah
rattlesnakemountainfarm at yahoo.com
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