[permaculture] deep mulch in Mediterannean climates. don't forget Jean Pain

Lawrence F. London, Jr. venaurafarm at bellsouth.net
Thu Dec 10 04:18:18 EST 2009

Michael Pilarski wrote:

 > A small gripe.  would people not put "US Permaculture National 
Conference" in the subject line of a post when they are talking about 
something totally different.

It could be amazingly useful to preface every subject header with
keywords describing the variant on the existing thread's subject
or a new thread or one-off post.

 > If you google it you will find various sources including an article 
in the pc activist.  Also it looks like it can be downloaded from 

Could anyone give us an intro to using torrents?
what software
how to download files
whatever else is necessary

Michael Pilarski wrote:

 > On the topic of appropriateness of deep mulch in Mediterannean 
climates.  Some people may have had bad experience with this for one 
reason or another, but the decades long work of Jean Pain in a hot 
Mediterannean bioregion in France included successfully growing gardens 
without irrigation with the use of deep mulch (in combination with other 
 > His most in-depth description is in his book "Another Kind of 
Garden". > I highly recommend his work for many reasons.  Including the 
use of > >woody biomass, conversion of biomass into energy, hot 
composting with > >biomass and fire reduction in chapparal ecosystems.

My take on mulch in food gardens is that there is never enough of it
and that living mulches are different but of equal value, especially if 
they fix nitrogen and don't compete with the primary crop.

I think that the best gardening method is:


no-till except for light scarification of surface crust (not a problem 
is there is  high OM in the topmost soil layer, the desired condition)
or for weeding, best done to  shallow depth to avoidn disturbing the 
weed seed bank

raised beds with heavy, deep mulch between beds

Double dig by hand to construct these beds or carefully use
powered mechanical means to accomplish this or accomplish part
of the work. I have used a tractor with three to five different
mounted on it to do ALL the work of constructing raised beds on
five acres of my land. I used the tractor because I wanted five acres of 
guaranteed production in those raised beds. Raised beds provide much 
needed drainage which can channel runoff to other gardens and/or to 
impoundments. Sometimes prepared flat or nearly flat beds that are not 
hilled/bedded are good too and for different reasons and uses; high soil 
OM is required for this type of gardening.

My intent is to do the most I can with the tractor to lay out and shape
these raised beds, once and for all in a final configuration. After this 
is accomplished the beds would be worked by hand thereafter, each 
seaason, each year, producing the desired biointensive, mulched, high 
soil OM, permanent no till raised beds.

I will be documenting my work this winter and next spring and summer
as I work to accomplish my goal of not needing the tractor in the field
at all. Presently I have two main fields with gardens, each with deer 
fencing. One is fallow, Fukuoka-style with lots of weeds and food crops 
in succession. The other, my primary production area, is divided into 
fallow gardens and ones dominated by cover crops (volunteer), turnip 
greens and rye grass, thick with these crops. As I will probably not be 
able to get the tractor into the field this winter I will be faced with 
hand tilling and weeding every square foot of garden space that I plan 
to plant in one crop or another in early spring and following. I will 
leave the weeds to grow and reseed in well over half of this area, good 
because the soil will have cover growing on it throughout we and dry 
seasons. This situation will give me the chance, finally, to create the 
types of notill beds I have been waiting years for.


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