[Market-farming] Mulch

TxBeeFarmer TxBeeFarmer at HotPop.com
Thu Dec 6 13:12:32 EST 2007


Actually, I do live close to Midland/Odessa.  I'm north of Big Spring.  The 
idea of planting clover sounds good - where can I get the kind of seeds 
you're talking about?  When's the best time to plant it without irrigation? 
I've also thought of planting wheat and knocking it down as a mulch too, but 
not sure how to do that either, unless I get a no-till planter.  But am 
thinking anything I grow and knock down won't be thick enough to do any 
good.  As far as walkways, I only have skipped rows for a trailer to go 
down.  Those are easy to mowed with the shredder or run down with an onion 
blade or disk.  Really can't plant just the skip rows - only have a seed 
slinger for small seeds.  Yes, I'd like to know of some local people who 
have straw bales.

TxBeeFarmer (Mark)
West Texas Zone 7b

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Steve Bridges" <steve at texasgrown.com>
To: "'Market Farming'" <market-farming at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Wednesday, December 05, 2007 10:05 PM
Subject: Re: [Market-farming] Mulch

> Howdy Mark, here's a couple of thoughts...
> On using hay, if you get what is commonly referred to as 'clean' hay, then
> it's highly likely that you'll be getting hay that was sprayed with a weed
> killer (Grazon, 2-4D, piclaram) that will stunt or kill your veggie plants
> when you plant into the hay. An easy way to discern if hay has been 
> sprayed
> is to grind some up, mix it half and half with potting soil and plant some
> bean seeds into a pot. If the bean seeds develop their second set of true
> leaves without curling or stunting then you'll know there is no herbicide 
> in
> the hay. Chances are this type of clean hay will not have a load of weed
> seeds in it...
> If you're getting hay that some farmers call 'organic' which is
> non-fertilized and neglected (organic by neglect, not Certified), then
> you're probably buying hay that will have several generations of weed 
> seeds
> in it. The few months of weed suppression you'll gain will not be worth 
> the
> years of newly inoculated weed seeds that you'll have to deal with.
> Being in West Texas, chances are you might be able to find a farmer that
> bales his wheat straw, which makes an excellent mulch and is going to have
> far fewer weed seeds in it than hay. If you're around the Midland/Odessa
> area I can guide you to a few farmers that even have Certified Organic 
> wheat
> straw for sale.
> I would suggest that you check out a book called Lasagna Gardening for 
> tips
> on how to plant into a layered, or mulched bed. See
> http://www.motherearthnews.com/Organic-Gardening/1999-04-01/Lasagna-Gardenin
> g.aspx It's gardening, but lots of good tips and growth for organic
> agriculture have come from organic horticulture.
> One thing that you might try is using a long season clover to plant in the
> walkways to keep the weeds down. In a field trial of 29 different cover
> crops last year I found that red and strawberry clovers keep even Johnson
> grass from returning in the summer. These were huge trials of each 
> variety,
> 40x800 feet, but where we had these clovers planted there was very little
> weed pressure all the way through the following summer. This year I'm
> trialing this as between-row plantings in cellulose and plastic mulched 
> beds
> to see if it will keep Bermuda and Johnson grass at bay. Also, I've rowed 
> up
> my beds for next years corn, planted these clovers and will strip-till to
> plant the corn next year. I'm thinking that it's going to work judging 
> from
> what I saw in the trials last year...
> Another thought is that, if you've got the land, you can grow your own 
> mulch
> crops such as a fast growing sudan, that you can cut and bale 2-3 times,
> before it goes to seed, then you don't have to worry about what you might 
> be
> bringing in from another farm.
> ~
> Weeds be suppressed,,,never gone!
> ~~~~~~~~~~
> Steve Bridges
> Texas farmer
> -----Original Message-----
> From: market-farming-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
> [mailto:market-farming-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of TxBeeFarmer
> Sent: Monday, December 03, 2007 9:45 AM
> To: Market Farming
> Subject: [Market-farming] Mulch
> I'd like to try putting down mulch over my garden to reduce weeds and help
> the soil.  It's about 3 acres, but I'm really not sure how to get it done.
> Also not sure how to plant a garden on it.
> Let me explain a little about my location, the soil, and how the garden is
> taken care of now.  It's in west Texas with a rainfall of approx. 17
> inches/yr. with very little or no irrigation because the water must be
> hauled in.  The soil is a sandy loam that tends to develop "hard pan" if 
> not
> plowed.  So, each Winter the stalk residue is shred down and disked 
> lightly
> to turn everything under.  In the spring, it's deep disked, then plowed to
> create 36 inches rows.  Planting is done with a 4 row buster planter on 
> the
> bed.  Weeds are either hoed or plowed using knives or sweeps.
> The only mulches available are large round bales of oats, hay grazer, red
> top cane, alfalfa, or similar.  It's not practical for me to get mulch 
> from
> town.  I don't have a dump truck and they don't deliver.
> So it looks like hay is my only choice.
> But, how can it be put down and how do you avoid growing a field of 
> whatever
> kind of hay is put down?  And how do you get it down?  Should I disk 
> before
> putting the mulch down?  Should the mulch go down in the Fall or in the
> Spring?  How deep should it be? How can I make rows and plant without
> covering up the mulch?  Should I row it up, put the mulch down, then 
> plant?
> As you can see, I'm having trouble understanding how this is done?  Seems
> the devil is in the details.
> Perhaps I'm looking at this all wrong.  Need some help here folks.
> Thanks for your help.
> TxBeeFarmer (Mark)
> West Texas Zone 7b
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