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

LBUZZELL at aol.com LBUZZELL at aol.com
Thu Dec 10 17:54:44 EST 2009

I'd like to put in a good word for succulents as a useful living mulch in  
Mediterranean climates.  Thanks to climate change, our fire season is now  
10 months long and although we also use wood and "chop and drop" mulches as 
well  as other living mulches (many, like nasturtium, are edible), we've 
found that  especially in a young garden, succulents (which are usually 
available free as  cuttings from someone else's garden) cover the earth nicely, 
holding water  underneath and in their own tissues -- highly fire-resistant.
Linda Buzzell
Santa Barbara, CA, USA
In a message dated 12/10/2009 1:19:08 A.M. Pacific Standard Time,  
venaurafarm at bellsouth.net writes:

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.

permaculture  mailing list
permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
Subscribe or unsubscribe  here:
Google  command to search  archives:
site:http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/permaculture  searchstring

More information about the permaculture mailing list