[permaculture] Lupines and their uses.
Lawrence F. London, Jr.
venaurafarm at bellsouth.net
Sun Dec 13 08:36:37 EST 2009
Dieter Brand wrote:
> Our environment can be extremely harsh, especially during the dry
season. Perhaps this leads animals (ants, birds, etc.) to adopt extreme
strategies just to survive.
> I think the idea of perennial-annual companion planting is something
worth investigating. The beneficial effects some plants have on each
other are well known, even though I think the N-fixing bacteria are
already in the ground (if we grow traditional crops for our region) and
multiply as needed when the crop grows.
> Annual cover crops and green mulches have their limitations in dry
regions where all humidity needs to go to the cash crop. I usually
encourage growth (cover crops, weeds, grasses, etc.) during the wet
season and cut it all for mulching at the start of the dry season to
conserve soil humidity.
> Lupines are good for fixing N, but I think for improving tilth you
may be better off with annual grasses or grains because they produce
more biomass. Rye is especially good because it forms a big root
system. You can also mix legumes with grasses or grains. For example
rye with vetch is a good combination.
Great to hear back from you Dieter. What region in Portugal are you in?
Are you a fan of Fados? Wow, Amalia Rodriguez, Maritza & other greats...
lots of YouTube music videos of them. The language is beautiful; I
assume you speak Portuguese. That and Italian and French, of course are
the most beautiful, especially if you like opera, though I like German
also. Ah, English, take it or leave it ..., its best for farmers :-)
I wonder about N fixing bacteria and whether some need replishing
because of harsh weather conditions, conventional farming methods
and chemical fertilizer, etc. Here, it used to be that when you bought
been seed for summer plantings they gave you a little plastic bag with
black powder containing populations of the correct bacteria for that
type of bean.
As for cutting wet season cover crops, do you leave them on the soil for
mulch or remove them or plow them under?
I agree with you about grasses and grain and their ability to increase
soil OM, especially winter rye. I have acres of winter rye now and it
will become a real soil builder when I shallow till it under this coming
Spring. It is amazing how it builds soil tilth, unlike anything else almost.
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