[permaculture] Germination Rates in Mulch

msnow at mountainschool.org msnow at mountainschool.org
Mon Jul 10 18:51:31 EDT 2006


I've successfully sown field peas and oats into a decently thick (that is,
not sparse) straw mulch.  Like the green manures mentioned below, a lot of
the seeds germinated on and in the mulch - fine for covers but likely not
for veggies, as they'll become pd leggy.  For the covers mentioned below,
you can generally avoid the problem of seeds establishing in the crowns by
altering sowing technique.  Try striding - walk purposefully - down the
row with a bag or bucket of seed in front, sowing a handful (or cut with
sand or soil to thin it out) of seed underhand so it spreads in front of
you.  As you stride you retrieve more seed and sow again.  Time it so you
let go as you reach the end of your last pitch.  If you have a lot of
ground to cover, walk in tandem with others to the end of the row.

Here's another thought, if we're talking covers.  Use hay mulch with a lot
of seed in it.  Viola.

Carrots and lettuce?  Sepp Holzer Austrian Rebel Farmer sows a mix like
that and it comes up.  Don't think he sows into a mulch.  Anyone?

Mike


> Roxann, Neshura,
>
> I think there are a number of conditions seeds will germinate.
> Seeds are adapted for germination in a leaf-litter, rather than soil. I
> think mainly.
> Green manure seeds can germinate and root in brassica hearts.
> "I have tried ugm (undersown green manures) with various clover and
> cereal types but have run into problems of establishment and seed
> falling into the heart of brassacaes and taking root there!"
> Ian Tollhurst
> http://www.veganorganic.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=48&Itemid=65
>
> So there is possibility of top-side, or partial imersion-mulch
> germination.
>
> Niels
>
> roxann wrote:
>
>>i use a hay mulch and i've never tried just putting the seeds down on or
>> in the mulch. usually, i will put a bucketfull of soil where i want to
>> plant (on top of the mulch) and then mulch that after the seeds are up
>> well enough. i was thinking the seeds needed good contact with the soil
>> and moisture to germinate.
>>
>>roxann
>>
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