[permaculture] Re: permaculture Digest, Vol 2, Issue 33

Scott Pittman pci at permaculture-inst.org
Wed Mar 26 12:54:25 EST 2003

As a New Mexican at high dry and windy, I'd have to quibble with the word 
"wet" when referring to above or below ground, damp - maybe.
I have had the same experience here with woody plants, they may break down 
"someday" but I have over an acre of branches covered in light soil that 
are in a petrified state after seven years.  I have trouble composting 
forbs, for crying out loud, unless I keep the hose nearby.  My compost is 
also always threatening to petrify rather than compost - more water, 
covers, and less turning.  I think the problem here is the lack of 
composting mycorrhiza, which is compounded by the lack of humus and humidity.

I have wondered these past few drought like years, if the term "drought 
tolerant" might have to do with the root colonizing mycorrhize holding 
moisture for use by the plant.  I know this phenomena of water storage in 
the mycelium has been documented and that this water is made available to 
adjacent plants, but I don't know if a specific study has been done on 
drought tolerant/resistant plants.  It would make sense.

My strategy this year is to inoculate my trees, garden and compost with a 
wide variety of mycorrhize and see how they fare versus the untreated trees.


At 01:56 AM 3/26/03 -0500, you wrote:
>Regarding piling woody trimmings and harvesting
> > humus later, I think it's
> > worth pointing out that this works where it's wet
> > and not where it's dry. I
> > am not familiar with the climate in El Dorado county
> > California. It doesn't
> > work in New Mexico; I've tried it!
> >
> > It's wet in New Mexico- just not above ground.
> > Dryland composting systems
> > often use pits, no? Also note, I recommended
> > weighting the brush down with
> > wood and turfs, to compact it, and growing plants on
> > top to shade it, as
> > well as cutting it more than just enough to haul it
> > away. I didn't go into
> > that in depth; it really does help to limb pieces
> > enough to allow them to
> > lie reasonably flat on the ground. Building
> > hugelkultur beds and composting
> > large amounts of branches is good practice for that.
> > After awhile you get
> > quite good at reducing branches efficiently. If I
> > remember right El Dorado
> > is in the gold rush country? Dry summers for sure,
> > but not classic dryland.
> >
> > -Rick

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