[nafex] Living mulch garden update OT

Lucky Pittman Lucky.Pittman at murraystate.edu
Fri Jul 20 09:54:02 EDT 2001


I found it.
This might make a nice companion article to go along with Dan Hemenway's 
permaculture articles in the most recent POMONA...

Lucky

>Subject: [grazersedge] living mulch garden update OT
>
>Folks,
>Thought it would be fun to post about my garden, waited for a light day....
>I started using living mulch of white clover three years ago.  My goals are
>pretty straight forward; keep the soil covered to suppress weeds ,
>eliminate soil splash and the resulting diseases and generate plenty of N.
>So far my goals are being met beyond my expecrtations.  By suppressing the
>clover with mowing and narrow tillage many crops seem to do well.  Tomatos,
>peppers, and curcubits do great, smaller crops need more help.  Each year
>I've done this has been at a new location, and of the three attempts at
>establishing the clover, the best was seeding into sod I killed with
>roundup.  almost no hand weeding was needed.  This year I'm working in an
>established garden and the best seeding is coming under the annual weeds.
>I have been mowing off the weeds very short and the clover is breaking
>through and starting to smother the weeds.  Two mowing so far, probably one
>more to go.  I also have a weed torch  which I dearly love, kills or annoys
>all plants and has replaced the weed wacker around the landscaping.  I've
>found the torch works great for frying the weeds out of beds before veggies
>germinate, greatly reducing weeding.
>         The clover seems to have other benefits as well.  Several pest 
> species
>seem to like the clover better than the veggies, slugs and rabbits for
>example.  It is also habitat for toads (though I must admit I have built a
>little toad palace for them) and also at least one short tailed shrew.  The
>shrew is a savage carnivore, about 2 inches/7 cm long.  I caught the little
>mama and was treated to a vigorous biting, amazing how loose their skin is
>on...
>         Other plants are showing promise as mulches and other parts of 
> the system.
>  I have bands of buckwheat planted as habitat for beneficial insects, and
>have been very impressed with the wild black medic (a prostrate legume)
>that is coming along.  The clover also loves the buckwheat as a nurse crop.
>         I guess that's about all for now.  I would love to try and integrate
>poultry into the system, but thats not possible where I'm living now.
>Maybe Fred needs some chickens?
>Mark Ludwig
>Mark Ludwig
>Poultry Reaserch Labratory
>University of Wisconsin - Madison
>mpludwig at facstaff.wisc.edu
>608-262-1730


 

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