[Market-farming] Mulch

H.C. Clark hcclark at rice.edu
Thu Dec 6 18:54:04 EST 2007

Turner seed in Breckenridge is a good source for clover and Browning seed in 
the area has always been helpful.
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "TxBeeFarmer" <TxBeeFarmer at HotPop.com>
To: "Market Farming" <market-farming at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Thursday, December 06, 2007 12:12 PM
Subject: Re: [Market-farming] Mulch

> Steve,
> 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.
> Thanks
> 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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