[permaculture] Living mulch garden update

Mark mpludwig at facstaff.wisc.edu
Wed Jul 17 13:48:56 EDT 2002


Folks,
I'm still happy with the living mulch garden.  We haven't had a decent rain 
in my area for over a month, but the clover is still holding up nicely 
without irrigation.  I have been watering the crop plants, either spot 
watering for tomatoes, squash and other clumpy things, while I broke out 
the soaker hose for the more solid row crops.  I have a few potatoes 
showing signs of blight, but do not think the LM is a major factor.  Must 
admit poor luck or skill with potatoes through the years.  Most of the 
various crops I have are thriving, though I think some are a little smaller 
than the clean tilled gardens in my neighborhood.  I think the mulch keeps 
the plants much cleaner though and I'll get my yields.  About half the 
tomatoes are fruiting already, so I think it's going well.  I have applied 
no N this year, and think the Alice clover is meeting the needs.  I have 
identified positively two types of predatory insects and provide some food 
crops for them (small flowered weeds and buckwheat) and some bowls with 
water and gravel in them for water.
         I was so disgusted with the cool spring that all the peppers and 
egg plants ended up in 6-10 inch (18-30cm) pots.  I toped them off with 
smooth river gravel and have been really happy with their progress.  While 
the plants in the smaller pots are a bit stunted, most of them started to 
fruit very promptly and if blooms are an indication they will yield 
adequately.  A habanro pepper I kept as a house plant in a 12 inch (36cm) 
pot this winter is an absolute marvel, fruiting well with early small 
fruits giving way to good sized specimens.  If I can find the window space 
I'll be keeping many of these plants this winter.  FYI - I clipped blooms 
all winter on the pepper and think the plague of Asian lady bird beetles 
kept the usual bugs off.
         I also have some garden going on the S side of an E-W  row of 40 
foot red pines.  It's all climbing stuff, pole beans, aggressive tomatoes 
and cucumbers.  The tomatoes are bigger than the same variety in the LMG, 
which I cant figure out.  The beans are comparable in spite of heavy bug 
chewing early on, and they have an unlimited amount of trellis, how I'll 
pick them isn't clear yet ;<).
         my rock garden just pleases me, and is a good hot place for the 
potted peppers and strawberry plants.  I've taken quite a shine to 
Mississippi river gravel, very colorful.  Nothing quite as nice as watering 
this stuff to bring out the color and sitting on the porch with a cold beer 
while the sun goes down.  Here's hoping you garden looks good to.


Mark P. Ludwig
Poultry Research Lab
University of Wisconsin -Madison
608-262-1730 WK
608-846-7125 HM




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