[Market-farming] Managing ground between beds

Rachel Airmet rachel at sunshinefarmmarket.com
Thu Nov 15 11:44:38 EST 2007


How wide is each sod biostrip?

Rachel in Washington

On 11/15/07 7:41 AM, "STEVE GILMAN" <stevegilman at verizon.net> wrote:

> Hi Martin,
> I never used much plastic but I got fed up with the waste of time
> and energy keeping the pathways between beds weed-free. Years back, I
> launched into a method that includes establishing "biostrips" --
> green strips sown to dutch white clover, hard red fescue as well
> allowing the natural field wildflowers (from dandelions to Queen
> Annes Lace) to come in. They provide pollen/nectar sources and
> protective habitat to breed up populations of beneficial omnivores so
> they will be in place to take on pest species when they come along.
> The sod-based biostrips also provide a below ground repository for
> beneficial mycorrhizae fungi, whose extensive hyphae networks are
> pipelines bringing far flung nutrients and water resources to the
> crop plants. You need to cut the biostrips periodically, especially
> in the Spring, and you can "mow and blow" the biomass into adjoining
> beds for a no-handle mulch source. Biostrips help prevent erosion --
> fully 1/3 of the field is in permanent cover and it gives harvesters
> a muck free working area after heavy rains.
> Here's a write up:
> http://scnyat.cce.cornell.edu/vegfruit/articles/biostrip.htm
> best,
> Steve
> On Nov 14, 2007, at 11:36 PM, market-farming-
> request at lists.ibiblio.org wrote:
>> Message: 2
>> Date: Wed, 14 Nov 2007 21:43:45 -0500
>> From: "Glen Eco Farm" <glenecofarm at planetcomm.net>
>> Subject: [Market-farming] Managing ground between plastic mulch rows
>> (was Rotor Tiller)
>> To: "Market Farming" <market-farming at lists.ibiblio.org>
>> Message-ID: <005401c82731$5841d7d0$837a0440 at glen971c42bff0>
>> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
>> While some of you are discussing equipment to till space between
>> plastic mulched rows I want to share some of my efforts manage this
>> space:  Even if I have the right equipment I can only do limited
>> tillage between the rows anyway because some of my plastic mulched
>> crops are vine crops like squash and cucurbits that want to run
>> into this space.
>>   a.. Spread corn gluten meal to suppress weeds (didn't work)
>>   b.. Mulched with spoiled hay (works somewhat but is labor
>> intensive and I have to push it off on to someone else because of
>> my need to be careful with mold exposures)
>>   c.. Let the weeds grow (you can get away with it but it is an
>> ugly mess I wouldn't recommend)
>>   d.. Sow crimson clover after laying the mulch (Clover came up ok
>> but fizzled out with the arivval of hot weather and drought.  Then
>> came the grass and weeds.)
>> Next year I'm thinking of planting something that will grow more
>> aggressively in hot weather, make a thicker ground cover, feed
>> nitrogen to the soil, and yield some crop to those who want them--
>> cowpeas.  What do some of you think?  Will it work?  Has anyone
>> tried it?  I'm not concerned about crop compitition for water and
>> nutrients because I have drip irrigation under the plastic, the
>> plastic keeps competing plants far enough away from the crop and I
>> am prepared to foliar feed if necessary.
>> Marlin Burkholder
>> Virginia zone 6
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